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Senior Spotlight: Q&A with future teachers

Nicole Santos

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Two graduating seniors are among those who conquered the application process and were admitted into Chico State’s teaching credential program.

The process takes a lot of preparation, and it is best to organize and plan ahead. There are many different pathways in the credential program, and each has a specific process to follow in order to apply and be accepted.

The Orion sat down with Michelle Brathovd, a senior liberal studies major with an area of concentration in mathematics, and Kelsey Larson, a senior liberal studies major with a supplement in physical education, to talk about their plans as future teachers.

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Michelle Brathovd, senior liberal studies major. Photo credit: Nicole Santos

Why did you choose to apply to Chico State’s credential program

Brathovd: All my professors have been phenomenal, and I honestly couldn’t see myself at any other university getting my credential. I am in love with this little college. It has such a great community that inspired me to stay here and pursue my teaching credential.

Larson: The program here is amazing, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I also wanted to work in a place that I am very comfortable in, and I have already worked in most of the schools around Chico.

What age group and grade would you like to teach in the future? Why?

Brathovd: My ideal grade is kindergarten because I have a passion and patience for young children. My ideal age group to teach in the future would be 5-year-olds, because they are at the age where school is new, fun and exciting. Something that is so small to us as adults is sensational to them. I currently work at the Associated Students Child Development Lab Preschool on campus with children ages 3 to 5, which has sparked my interest in the younger age groups and grades.

Larson: I would like to teach junior high, 12-13 years old, because that is the age that I believe I can make a real difference. Students are going through so much change during that time, and I want to be the one constant in their lives — the teacher that they want to come to for all of that.

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Kelsey Larson, senior liberal studies major. Photo credit: Nicole Santos

How has Chico State prepared you to become a teacher?

Brathovd: Chico State celebrates diversity, which has really helped prepare me for my future classroom. I know how to create a classroom with universal access, meaning working with English language learners, students with special needs, different types of learners and students from different backgrounds. As a CAVE volunteer, I had the opportunity to work in a transitional kindergarten class at Parkview Elementary School. This hands-on experience allowed me to put my college knowledge to work. It provided me with a stellar example of how a classroom looks and runs smoothly.

Larson: Chico State did a great job of preparing me to become a teacher, especially the physical education classes that I have taken for my supplement. I also was involved with CAVE in the classroom, and that gave me so much experience. I am well prepared for the credential program and what comes next.

What influenced you to want to become a teacher?

Brathovd: My biggest influence that made me want to become a teacher is my mom. She is a high school teacher in my hometown and has changed the lives of so many students by setting them up for success. I want to make a difference in these young children’s lives by inspiring them to love learning as much as I do.

Larson: I love teaching people something that I have learned, so why not do that for the rest of my life? I have always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a kid, and I have never looked back.

Is there a certain professor that you’ve had here at Chico State who has influenced you to become a teacher?

Brathovd: Katy Early has encouraged me to always keep shining and smiling. The course was a hands-on math lab where elementary students came weekly to be a part of a lesson delivered by the class of future teachers. Her teaching advice, strategies and enthusiasm made me feel confident in teaching students.

Larson: Kathi Balasek is part of the kinesiology department and she teaches KINE 302, which was the first physical education teacher class that I ever took, and at the moment I was hooked. Because of this one class, I changed what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. She is an amazing teacher, and I will never forget her as a professor or her class, and how much they both impacted my future.

Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or @Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.

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