Monday, April 27, 2015

The Journey Begins

Post written by: Abi Nixon
Year: Senior
Major(s): Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education
Minor(s): General Science

Hi! My name is Abi Nixon, and I am a senior here at UW-La Crosse.  When I was touring colleges, my parents made me go on at least thirteen different college visits.  We traveled to Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin searching for the perfect school.  On my last college visit to UW-L, I instantly fell in love.  UW-L was everything I had been searching for and then some.  Now as a student, I get to wake up and see the bluffs outside my window, and I am able to scenic downtown La Crosse with just a quick walk down the street.  The thing that really won me over about UW-L was the outstanding reputation of their education department.  I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a teacher but was still questioning what kind of teacher I wanted to be.  At first, I declared biology and secondary education as my program of choice; however, during my first semester at UW-L, I took EDS 309: Education in a Global Society and became enthralled with learning about education, curriculum creation, laws, and pedagogy.  I wanted to take more education classes than I would be required to take as a STEP major, so I switched my major to Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Education with a General Science minor.  As I have progressed through the education classes offered here at UW-L, my knowledge of the field of education and the art of teaching has grown exponentially.

This summer, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my story about my summer teaching fellowship in the inner city of St. Paul with you!  I applied to Breakthrough Collaborative in December and got the call that I had been selected to interview for a teaching position this summer in January.  I was so nervous for my interview because I had heard that it was a very rigorous and selective process.  I had to create a science lesson to teach in front of the Breakthrough board and other teaching candidates at the four-hour group interview night.  One thing that makes Breakthrough unique is their link to Teach for America.  When people ask me what Breakthrough is, I usually say it is a mini Teach for America teaching fellowship.  Breakthrough accepts applications from college students with all sorts of majors, not just education majors.  At my interview, there were people who had majors in music, communication, math, and education.  It was very interesting to see people who did not have any teacher preparation training prepare and teach a lesson.  After the group interview, I told my dad that even if I did not get the teaching fellowship, the interview process in itself was a great learning opportunity.  Later the next week, I got an email saying that I had been selected to be a teaching fellow in St. Paul this summer.

Throughout my time at UW-L, my heart has become set on helping students in high need areas achieve academically and meet their personal life goals.  Teachers have an amazing opportunity to change the lives of their students, and I believe that my calling is to help students who would normally be overlooked achieve their highest potential.  I look forward to sharing my summer experience with you!

"Only 33% of highly motivated, under-resourced students enroll in college and of that 33%, only 14% actually graduate.  This stands in stark contrast to the 70% of high-income students who matriculate and 60% of those who earn a college degree." -Breakthrough Twin Cities

Here is a video featured on PBS that was taken at the school I will be teaching at this summer! Also, I provided a link to the Breakthrough Collaborative website for you to explore!