-With Amanda Hinojosa

– Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am 23 years old. I have been a KU student at the Sarasota campus since I was 18. I initially started my program (Elementary Education) back in August of 2009. It has taken me so long to complete my program – mostly due to myself. I went through two different periods of the whole “this is taking forever, so I am going to make it take longer and take time off of school” bit. Two horrible decisions! However, I am currently in my second of three clinical experiences within the Elementary Education Program and I am thrilled at how far I have come- even looking back at my “breaks”. It has been a long and challenging road to get to where I am within my program but I am set to graduate with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education this December (2015) and cannot wait!!!

Currently, I am a nanny. I have been for the past three and a half years. I have one little girl who I watch after school Monday-Friday. She isn’t little; in fact, she is 18. She has special needs and she has actually shown me a different side to teaching and working with other people that I didn’t even know I needed lessons in! I get told quite often that I show an enormous amount of patience (which I don’t see, but am glad others see it in me!) however, if that is at all true, I owe it all to this little girl!

– What made you decide to join the Elementary Education program at KU?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. I can remember being an elementary school student myself, and thinking that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up! I initially started at KU because I wanted an accelerated program that would help me achieve my goals the fastest! I love working with people, especially children. I love watching students retain new information. The moment I see the *click* of understanding happen within a student while I’m teaching is remarkable! I don’t think that will ever get old!

– Do you have any favorite classes, or ones that you are looking forward to?

I’m sure it sounds cliché to say that I have enjoyed all of my classes at Keiser, but I really have! All of my upper division courses have all been geared to teach me practical knowledge that I will need as a teacher. All of my classes have been equally as useful in my clinical experiences thus far. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my professors! I have had the ability to work closely with a few of the professors for many consecutive months! Each has been so helpful from assignments, to practical knowledge, and advice while out in the field during clinical experiences. I couldn’t have asked for better professors or better content being taught to me. Everything I have learned has proved to be valuable in the classroom setting!

– Can you tell me a little about your current teaching position?

Currently, I am a level two intern at Palm View Elementary School in Palmetto, Florida. I am working in a third grade class there. This class is actually very interesting. The students have definitely been giving me a run for my money! The third grade class I was placed in is comprised of only 15 students. These 15 are the lowest 15 students academically across the third grade team at Palm View. This has really shown me the difficulties of teaching. But more importantly, this experience has shown me the greatest gift of teaching and that is reaching students whom people have labeled as “unreachable”.

These 15 students are challenging in the best way and thoroughly want to learn just as much as my mentor (their teacher) and I want to teach. I have learned new strategies that I never thought would work by watching my mentor teaching effectively use them. This second clinical has been a wonderful eye opening experience into the world of teaching. I have been very lucky to be placed in such an experience where I am learning just as much from the students as they are learning from me!

– What has been the most difficult part about being a college student? How are you overcoming it?

I think that everyone is different. For me, the most difficult part about being a college student is the fast paced program at KU. Some months I am on top of my game and turning in assignments before they are due. While other months I am struggling to remember if I have finished all my assignments as the last week of class rolls around! The beauty of KU is the fast paced curriculum but it can also be a little hectic; especially when you have a demanding class and life seems to get in the way.

In order to keep up with these fast-paced classes, it’s important to dedicate time for school work. I have to schedule time in throughout the week to read chapters or write papers. I think successful students are the ones who remember that they are in school for a reason and give their school work their all. That’s what I try and do with each and every class. But more than that, it’s what I have to do to ensure that my school work is completed to a satisfactory level that impresses not only my professors, but myself.

– What are your professional plans after graduation?

My professional plans after I graduate are to work as an elementary school teacher. I am hoping and praying that I find and fill a position that I am able to teach within for 30 years. I do have a dream of being a principal one day, but if that ever happens- that will be a long, long time from now. I really want to enjoy the role of being a teacher. That is my dream as of now!

– Do you have any advice for students entering the Elementary Education program?

My advice for anyone entering the Elementary Education program would be to always keep your mind open. There are so many wonderful teaching techniques that will prove handy one day! You just have to listen for them. Teaching is a wonderful career that gives back to you just as much as you give to it. If teaching is a career that you are truly passionate about, go for it. The rewards are abundant!

STUDENTS: Please email your submissions/questions/comments to the ELSE Student Editor, Kayla Bianchi at: