Texas Tech University

Early Childhood Education May 2022 Outstanding Senior

Mallory Collins

April 29, 2022

Ashli Sechrist

Ashli Sechrist selected as spring Outstanding Senior for Early Childhood Education

What is your major?

Early Childhood Education

Why did you choose your major?

Ever Since I was a young girl, I have had a deep sense of admiration for the education system. It has been a dream of mine to be an elementary teacher. I come from a long line of teachers and professors. Actually, some of my family are educators right here at Texas Tech University. So you see the passion for teaching is in my blood. Seeing little kids learn is truly inspiring. I want to be the one who imprints the fundamental knowledge and love of learning into a child's brain so that they will continue to flourish over time. Nothing compares to seeing a student smile as they enter the classroom and watching them process the best way to solve their problem. As a teacher, it is crucial to have a genuine love for kids and education, which comes naturally for me. One of my favorite quotes states “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart”. This statement truly represents my outlook on teaching where not only do I develop the academic knowledge of a child, but I focus on their emotional regulation as well. I thought it was only fitting that I pursue a major that could help me achieve my dream of teaching children how to read and write.

How did it feel to be selected as the Outstanding Senior for Early Childhood Education?

One can not truly describe the excitement and disbelief I felt when I received a call from Dr. Shine that I was nominated to be the Outstanding Senior for Early Childhood Education. Just to be nominated was thrilling, but when I received the email that I, Ashli Sechrist, was the Outstanding Senior for Early Childhood Education, I felt extreme joy. I called my support system to tell them the good news and received several joyous replies. I am truly honored to be awarded such an esteemed piece of recognition. To say that my student teaching experience has been taxing would be an understatement. The program is intense but absolutely worth it. It was a blessing to know that even though this year had been tough, I was still doing amazing things that were not going unnoticed.

What stands out about the Early Childhood Education program?

The life-changing experience one gains in the Early Childhood Education program is truly astounding. I started in Human Sciences learning about a child's development and relationships. I was able to gain a deep understanding of who it is I am teaching. Then I gained opportunities in the College of Education to apply those foundational skills in the classroom setting such as what specifically is being taught and the most effective ways to implement those pedagogical practices. This program differs from any other by creating a beautiful mesh between the developmental stages of a child and the most effective teaching practices to implement in the classroom. It is a privilege to focus on the child as a whole rather than just their intellectual capacity. I learned the best ways to educate a child based on their physical, social, and emotional development along with their intellectual development.

How will the skills and knowledge that you have gained in the Early Childhood Education program benefit your future?

The Early Childhood Education program at Texas Tech University has prepared me to confidently begin teaching in the fall. As a teacher, we are expected to uphold effective classroom management. That became so much easier once I knew the development of the child. I could assess the age of the child, their developmental level, and their cognitive abilities while helping that child become a problem solver. As a Tech Teach student teacher, I feel well prepared, capable, and up to the challenges that will surely come my way in my future classroom.

What do you most enjoy or appreciate about the Early Childhood Education program?

My favorite part about the program is that I was given hands-on experiences with children right off the bat. I learned in the classroom that I could apply new knowledge to the students in a structured environment. These lab experiences provided me with the unique chance to work with infants and toddlers who had diverse learning needs and backgrounds. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Child Development Research Center so much so that I became a Preschool teacher's Aide. My time working at the Center involved many unforgettable experiences with young children. Watching children learn essential life skills while engaged in play was truly a blessing. In the Tech Teach program, as a student teacher, I was able to observe various grade levels and teaching practices that I can't wait to implement in my own classroom.

What are your career plans/next steps?

I will soon graduate from Texas Tech University with my bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Once my college experience has come to an end and I graduate, I plan on applying to the Lubbock Independent School District to start my life-long career as an elementary teacher.