Many of our graduates stay in touch with their Buffalo State instructors, advisors, and mentors long after they have moved from teacher candidate to teacher. These graduates frequently write to former faculty and staff, sharing their experiences and reflections from the field of education. Read on to hear what they have to say!
10/2013 - From Buffalo to West Virginia: A Friendship Builds
A message from Melissa (Rios) Elliot, 2003
“It’s in something called the Eastern Panhandle." I replied to my best friend who had asked me to Google Martinsburg, West Virginia. "Okay, I know where it is now."
She had taken West Virginia History in 8th grade as required. She was at a job fair in Buffalo. I had returned home to Staten Island to do my student teaching and found a teaching position at a middle school.
My friendship with Melissa (Stewart) Hollen ('03), started in a room on the ground floor of Ketchum Hall in Multicultural Literature. The stories I could tell from that classroom! From the time I yelled at Melissa for leaving her purse at her desk as we went out on a break - and then rudely asked her where she was from (every New Yorker knows you keep your purse with you) - to the more recent adventure on March 28, 2010, when I sat with her parents and in-laws as she and Jr brought Blake into the world.
We were separated by distance after our graduation from Buffalo State College. Yet, out of a desire to own a home - an improbability for a single teacher in New York City - and to be close to Melissa, I found my way to West Virginia. In 2006, I started teaching at Martinsburg High School. I was new to not only the area but the high school level. My department chair, Karen Demick, made me feel at ease and we quickly found out that we had both attended Buffalo State. Karen is the Beta Alpha chapter president of Alpha Delta Kappa; the teacher sorority to which we both belong.
In April of 2013, we returned to Buffalo and spent two days at the Teacher Recruitment Days interviewing prospective teachers. Meeting teachers who are enthusiastic about getting into the classroom renewed my excitement for our profession. Melissa and I will continue in her tradition of being an excellent representation of Buffalo State’s alumni. (pictured above, Elliott, right, Hollen, left)
09/2013 - To Tom Sadowski. From a SUTEC student
I hope this email finds you well and you are enjoying the beginning to your semester! I am in school #33 ... I am currently placed in a fourth grade gifted and talented class. This experience is unique and different, as I have never been placed/experienced a G&T class. My teacher is absolutely amazing! Her classroom management skills are nothing short of absolute genius. I have become extremely engaged with the students and started to facilitate class-wide activities. Next week I will be starting to take over the read aloud for the class. My first lesson is scheduled for September 27th, and I am extremely excited. I am planning on teaching how to write a friendly letter using a SS book the President Obama wrote (wohoo for teaching across the curriculum!). Overall, I am extremely happy at the school. All of the stockholders are nothing short of the best. I will keep you apprised!
09/2013 - To Tom Sadowski. From a SUTEC student
Hi! I'm doing my special education placement of student teaching at PS 40 in NYC. I love it so far! I learned the names of the entire class by the third day. I stay after school with the teachers to go over the schedule for the following day. I taught my first read aloud and also administered a two part spelling assessment for the entire class. I am kind of a right hand for the teachers if they need copies, instructional or non instructional duties in the classroom performed, and simply helping to keep the class' behavior under control. I really like how much the students look to me as a third teacher. I obviously have lots of assignments ahead but my co teachers and I sat down and planned out when I'd teach everything in two blank calendar templates for September and October. I have learned how to deal with unfamiliar behavioral issues in the classroom and the teachers I work with are so understanding, welcoming, and pretty awesome. Just sending you an update!
Fall 2012 - To A Student Teacher Supervisor, Marcia Cohen
Thank you for being you, Marcia. As a teacher I have learned that you just have to adapt to the environment even when you haven't planned to. When Tom Sadowski called you asking you to supervise me, you said 'yes' with no hesitation. Thank you so much for welcoming me with an open heart and mind. You're inspirational words have helped me realize that teaching is my passion. You're amazing, Marcia. I have come a long way since my first placement and I want you to know that, without you believing in me, I probably wouldn't know where to go next after college. You and Kristi saw something in me that I never saw and you put in a good word for me to be nominated as a substitute in New York City. I can't thank you enough. This experience has been life changing and I owe it all to you. You are a fabulous person, keep on touching student teachers' hearts, just as you did mine.
Jamie Preven, 2012, B.S. Childhood Education, EER
A message from a SUTEC student teacher placed at PS 33 in New York City
We are now entering week 4 of the placement, and it totally feels like it. I have become acclimated to the classroom, as far as knowing the daily routines, knowing the children, and knowing the teachers/ paras I work with. It has really become a pleasure and I'm so grateful for the principal, Ms. Lindy. Though it was rough adjusting to a class of 12 IEPs, something I'm unfamiliar with, I am enjoying it. I am learning so much already in the way of classroom management, and special education. I feel as if I'm getting a very New York City experience. Now that I am comfortable, I have joined into teaching the morning songs, which include nursery rhymes, and other short age appropriate poems. This is part of the morning message, and introduction to the day. I also work with kids during writers workshop, guiding them to do their letters in their books, as taught, soon by me! In addition, during math time, and center activities, I am with specific groups, or keeping an eye on certain children. As we've been lucky, from the beginning of school until now, and including this week, there has only been one full week, but wow, I really learned the demands of teaching that week, and see everything behind the scenes. It has been my pleasure getting to know my surroundings and I am enjoying it so much. I will be teaching the "fundations" lesson this week. This is where the students learn letters. First they go through learning the steps to write the letter (through teacher demonstration) then we allow students to suggest words that start with that letter, and then that leads into writer's workshop where they practice hand writing the letters in their books. I am just a little worried because the children are so fidgety that my classroom management techniques might be viewed as under developed. But hey, this is what this practice is for!