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Featuring Alison Seefeldt '08
Alison Seefeldt
Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: Urban Promise School
Location: Wilmington, DE
Graduate School: University of Delaware
Graduate Program: MS in Human Development & Family Studies
Information on Alison's graduate school experience
(Profiled: November 2011)

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?
  What attracted you to this position?
♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?


How did you connect with this job opportunity?
After I did a multicultural field experience, I thought I may be interested in teaching in an urban setting, so I completed a summer internship before my senior year with Urban Promise Ministries in Camden, New Jersey, working in a summer camp. My internship confirmed my desire to teach in an inner-city school. During my senior year, the Executive Director of Urban Promise Wilmington came to campus to recruit. I met him in the Student Union, and he invited me to come visit Urban Promise’s private Christian school. I went to visit right after graduation, and he offered me a job teaching kindergarten.

What attracted you to this position?
I wanted to work in a place where I felt like I could really make an impact. Urban Promise was a very small and relatively new school, and during my time there I got to be involved in many aspects of the school, like choosing curriculum and leading professional development. I also liked that the school served low-income inner-city families, because this was the population I was interested in working with.

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
Getting to see firsthand my students learning new things, like seeing them learn to read, come to know more about who God is, and learn to get along and support each other. My relationships with my co-workers and the parents of my students were also gratifying. They took work, patience, and humility to establish, but it was definitely worth it.

What was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
My first thought was everything! But really, I guess it was trying to stay true to what I had learned at Grove City about what is best practice and what I personally believe about teaching when it felt like it wasn’t working and when people around me were telling me I needed to do things differently. This was especially true with classroom management. It took time for my students to adjust to my way of doing things when often they were used to more punitive discipline. I never really got to the place I wanted to be in my first year of teaching, and I had to accept that it was okay that I was not perfect and that my students were not perfect. By my third year I was really able to develop the type of classroom community I had hoped for my first year, and I think that was due to the ways I struggled and grew during those first years of teaching.

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
I really appreciate all the field experience I gained in a variety of settings. It was great to be able to say in interviews that I’d worked with all age groups, preschool through sixth grade! I also think Grove City’s emphasis on professionalism helped prepare me to excel in the field, even though I looked young.

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
Try to make the most of your coursework and fieldwork. Sometimes it can be easier to just do enough to get by when things get really busy, but trying to get the most out of each assignment and experience can help you to be better prepared. Work with children as much as possible. This helps you figure out your style of classroom management and the way you relate to children, and it’s better to start thinking about these things before you have your own classroom! Also, start a list of ideas for lessons, management, classroom setup, and anything else you see in your fieldwork or from your classmates that you may want to use when you have your own classroom.

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
Be open to lots of different options. During college I never considered working in a Christian school, but working at Urban Promise ended up being a great fit for me, and I loved the Christian atmosphere. Don’t rule out any options too soon, whether it’s geographic, school type, or age group. I always tell people especially not to rule out working in an urban setting because they think they couldn’t do it. I believe anyone can do it with God’s help if they love children and are willing to work hard. Also, there’s a great need for excellent teachers in inner-city schools, and the rewards are enormous.
More information about Alison's graduate school experience

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