Describe your experience as a student in the Human Development and Family Studies
(HDFS) Early Childhood (EC) program.
Throughout the Early Childhood program, professors that engrained the importance of understanding a child's needs and development, in order to become a successful educator, surrounded me. They were friendly, motivating and always promoted collaboration and discussion between students.
Why did you choose your degree/major?
Since childhood, I have wanted to become a teacher. There are at least fifteen teachers in my family. I guess you could say that I went into the “family business.” I chose the Early Childhood program because I wanted to gain an understanding of the stages of development and best practices to meet my students needs.
How do you think your time in the Early Childhood (EC) program prepared you for your
I believe the Early Childhood program prepared me immensely to meet the developmental needs of my students. My Pre-K students walk into my classroom with big feelings, needs, and emotions. However, they are lacking the tools to positively communicate them to others. For a few semesters, I had the privilege of observing and performing some case studies of children at the Child Development Research Center (CDRC). Throughout my observations and interactions with the children at the CDRC, I was able to effectively put the theories that I was learning about into action. The practice and observation techniques have now crossed over into my classroom.
How did you find your job? How did you transition from graduation to what you do now?
My experience after graduation was a little different. I graduated in December and teaching jobs aren't the easiest to find in the middle of the year. Instead, I spent most of the semester shadowing a child with severe emotional needs. The few months I shadowed the child, I was able to try out different approaches and practices I had obtained through Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Early Childhood program. It was really a beneficial experience for me and helped me prepare for my own classroom. Being a West Texas native, I knew I wanted to stay in the area. I taught for four years in Denver City ISD and moved to Lubbock-Cooper ISD in 2015. I am so glad that I am close to my alma matter. Last semester, I had a Texas Tech student come to my classroom for observation. It was so much fun to see how some of the same professors that I had while attending Texas Tech were mentoring her as well!
How is your degree helping you make an impact in your career and/or other areas?
I feel like my Early Childhood degree has given me a strong foundation. Every grade I teach, I am constantly referring back to theories and notes that I took while in the Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program. I feel that if I hadn't been trained in child development, I wouldn't understand my students as well or be as successful of meeting their needs. My knowledge and experience in the field has also given me confidence to be a team leader and mentor new teachers at my school. My cousins and I also have a teaching blog where we discuss best practices. I have also presented at conferences about best practices that have been successful in my classroom. HDFS also established a strong sense of always reading and furthering my knowledge and education. I plan to eventually obtain my masters. I'm not sure exactly what I would like to specialize in yet, but I know I will be obtaining it from Texas Tech. Once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider!
Are there any professors that took a special interest in you or helped you along the way?
Mrs. Ziegner has made a tremendous impact on my life. Her passion for teaching and developmentally meeting the needs of students has stuck with me since my first semester in the HDFS building. The approaches I use to consciously communicate with my students in my classroom today are techniques that she has taught me. I tried to take as many classes with her as I could. She is such a positive person that one can't help but smile when you are around her!
What advice would you give to current students?
Absorb everything you can! You are in the hands of experts that will mold you into very successful and effective advocates for Early Childhood! I would also say connect and establish relationships with the professors and others in the Human Development and Family Studies department. You have a great opportunity to make connections with some great mentors.