Sarah McCarty, Elementary Education
Why did you choose UNI's Teacher Education program? Everyone I talked to has said that UNI is the best teaching college, there is no better place to go. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and have grown to love the campus after spending time here. UNI gives an amazing amount of hands-on experience and it's something I didn't see me getting at another school. I also work as a tour guide on campus and when I hear the student is interested in teaching, I make sure they fully understand that there is no place better then UNI.
What current/prior experiences do you have with special education? In high school I did one-on-one teaching with a class and worked with kids that were having a hard time with learning.
I also babysat for a girl that had epilepsy and some other problems, she has physical disabilities and mental disabilities. She knows you are there but she doesn't really talk to you or anything like that. She'll recognize you and acknowledge you but she can't speak. I have babysat her for a number of summers and really got to know how to deal with children with the same disabilities. I am looking forward to going back to her later on and being to able to help her even more with the knowledge I have gained at UNI.
What is a fond memory of your time spent at UNI? I have fond memories of doing PRIDE CRY for homecoming, which is where people gather on the top of the Union and do a routine similar to Stomp. Each organization competes against each other and whichever organizations make it to the finals will end up doing their routine again outside of the McCloud Center for a bigger audience. The whole spectacle of homecoming week is just as amazing and nothing but a great experience. I also participated in the Panther Scramble and my team ended up getting third place.
In my Methods of Math class, I worked with a friend of mine to help a student better understand math and all its principles. We really made math fun for her, we made this Hannah Montana theme and she just loved it. We also created a "choose your adventure" problem that worked with Math and allowed her to choose which math problems she would have to work on. Later on, I found out that math had become this student's favorite subject in school and it felt really good to think that I had a hand in helping her come to that conclusion.
The hands-on experience I got within the Special Education Department was just amazing. I like it because you really get to know the professors, and they are there to help every step of the way. The special education program is great because it is not textbook based. Instead it is hands-on; we get to specifically work with students who need extra help and use the practices we learn about. The special education program allows us to learn and strengthen our teaching skills through our field experiences while being guided by professors who are experts in the field.
Any tips for prospective/current students that are working toward similar degrees? When you go home for breaks, visit your old teachers in the town and ask to sit in and help with their classes. Most teachers will love the extra help and it will give you a great chance to see how a real class is run. It also will give you a chance to see your old teachers in a new light and maybe spark an interest in a subject that you didn't think would be there.
Do anything and everything you can with kids, the more you know about kids the better for managing them and understanding how they act.
What are your career plans? Where would you like your UNI education to take you? Short term plans are that I would like to stay in the Midwest, it would be nice to move closer back home so I can be closer to my family. However, I will go where a job is available, I am pretty open to where I will end up. I do plan on doing my student teaching abroad in Switzerland or Austria, just to see different teaching methods.
Longer term plans are I hope to start on my masters degree at some point in my future, but as it is now, I am just looking to get out into the field and trying to find that one part of education that I feel passionate about. I am open to where the road will lead me.
Any fun Quotes or Words of Advice to the people reading this profile? No matter what you do when you get to UNI, get involved. Get involved with your field and any of the organizations available to you at UNI. If you get involved in things that don't deal with your school work it will make your time here so much more worthwhile. UNI is a very unique experience that you won't get a second chance to experience.