Terrapin Teachers offers options for undergraduates to begin their certification pathways at different entry points in their college careers. Although most undergraduates enter Terrapin Teachers as freshmen and sophomores, we also get transfer students from community colleges who enter Terrapin Teachers as juniors. These students can share valuable experiences as they transition from a community college to a four-year institution. In this newsletter, we take pride in featuring Jennifer Hill, a transfer student from Montgomery College (MC), who provides an inside look at her journey through the undergraduate secondary education pathway.
What is your classification and major?
I am a transfer student from Montgomery Community College. I enrolled at the University of Maryland (UMD) the first semester of my junior year. I am now a senior math (CMNS) and secondary mathematics education (COE) major.
Describe your undergraduate experiences since you transferred to UMD and joined Terrapin Teachers.
My undergraduate experiences at UMD have been a huge eye-opener. Coming from a community college, I felt very intimidated. All the students already knew each other and their instructors, and so I felt like I was at a disadvantage.
On my first day of class, walking into EDCI 488P (Project-Based Instruction), one of the instructors was at the door and as I walked in she said, “Are you, Jennifer?” I was caught by surprise and responded “yes,” and then she introduced herself to me. At that moment, I immediately felt welcomed. I knew she looked at the class roster and saw my name and picture, but I appreciated that she took the time to know her students. I knew right then that Terrapin Teachers would be a great place for me.
My overall experiences have been challenging. Being a double major in math and education is no joke. When I was in high school, and even at my community college, math came very easily to me, but at UMD it was a huge challenge. There were times when I doubted my ability to be a math teacher and thought about changing paths, but the Terrapin Teachers classes made me confident not only in being a teacher, but in being a math teacher. I’ve met some really amazing people in the Terrapin Teachers program and had great experiences in the Terrapin Teachers classroom. I have learned a lot about the kind of teacher I want to be, and I appreciate Terrapin Teachers so much for getting me closer to becoming a teacher.
What are your biggest takeaways from your Classroom Interactions course (EDCI 488A) which begins your year-long internship in the field?
My biggest takeaway from this course is that it’s okay to make mistakes. Being a teacher involves revising and modifying lessons. Not all the lessons you create are going to go as planned, and that is okay. The best way to deal with a mistake is owning up to it and learning from it. Teachers are human too, and I have my instructor to thank for reminding me of that.
Talk about your classroom experiences. Which had the greatest impact on how you think about teaching?
The classroom experience that has had the greatest impact on me is Classroom Interactions. This course begins the year-long internship. In the fall, I was at a high school once a week. As part of the field experiences, I taught two full lessons that I created and took the lead for one of the classes my mentor (public school teacher) was teaching. These experiences have made me not only excited about teaching, but set in my heart that this is what I want to do. I want to change the world and what better way to do it than to teach.