Lake Elmo, Minnesota
Maya was introduced to St. Kate's through an alumna. "I first heard about St. Kate's through my mother's friend. I was in high school, and she was a graduate of the University with some wonderful stories about the faculty and life on campus. She convinced me that St. Kate's was worth checking out."
When it came to deciding on an area of study, Maya recognized her passion for teaching right away. "I've been working with kids since I was 12, either as a babysitter or a nanny. I enjoy being around them. I like watching their faces light up when they figure out something."
St. Kate's offers students the opportunity to gain real-world experience. "Fieldwork is the best part of being an education major at St. Kate's. It's integrated into the curriculum as early as our junior semester. We get to focus on teaching social studies and classroom management at one of St. Kate's partner schools in the Twin Cities. This fall, I'm completing my fieldwork at Northrop Urban Environmental Learning Center — along with five other St. Kate's students. We get to put theory into practice and feel comfortable in the classroom."
Maya spoke very highly of her mentor, Mr. Tifft. "You have to be a special kind of person to teach first grade, and my co-operating teacher, Larry Tifft, at Northrop this fall is that kind of person. I'm learning a lot from observing him. He's very animated, and the students love him. But he is also calm and knows how to create a warm atmosphere in the classroom." (Fun fact: Mr. Tifft is a 1996 graduate of St. Kate's Master of Arts in Education program.)
Throughout her fieldwork, Maya had the chance to run some of her own activities. "During the election season, I taught a social studies current event and had students vote for vegetables."
She successfully balanced her schoolwork and fieldwork requirements. "I'm at Northrop on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon, and I'm in classes at St. Kate's on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I use many planners and make many lists to stay on top of all of my assignments, and other responsibilities."
"I plan to sit for my Minnesota teaching license next summer and hope to land a teaching job once I graduate from St. Kate's in December. I'd love to teach grades K-3. Children are so excited about learning at this age."