Featuring Gabrielle Fairbaugh '11
(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
♦ 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
♦ What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in
♦ What are the challenges and rewards of living in
I visited the school in my senior year of high school (for 2 weeks and
volunteered in 1st grade), through church contacts (my home church
pastor had been a pastor in Honduras for 11 years), and loved it! I
found their website when I began applying for jobs and applied online.
♦ I was attracted by the Christian
♦ The unique ministry of working with the
future leaders of Honduras, (Academia Los Pinares serves a large part of
the upper class of Hondurans)
♦ The supportive atmosphere for my first
year teaching (mentor and grade level leader teachers),
♦ Collaborating with
2 other second grade teachers
♦ Living in a Latin American culture and
developing and using my Spanish!
Working with the students if definitely the most rewarding part! Seeing
their learning and success is so awesome!
♦ Applying things that I
learned at college which allow me to feel at home and prepared in the
classroom. This confirms that I have ideas and some knowledge to offer
that will help me work with the other more experienced teachers.
♦ Living with
other teachers to discuss ideas and collaborate easily at night.
I think the biggest challenge has just been that everything I'm
teaching is something I'm teaching for the very first time. It takes me
a great deal of time just to know my subjects and what I am teaching and
trying to figure out what will help the students learn best. When I look
at the other teachers I see that they already know what they will be
teaching—and how to tie things together for the future months of the
year—and are able to go more in depth or catch errors that students
will most likely make; whereas, this is challenging for me since I have never taught the
material before. So overall, just the newness of the material and
learning it week by week (and trying to not feel overwhelmed by it all!)
has been the biggest challenge.
My classes at GCC gave me great preparation in how to present material
and ways to teach and interact with the students.
♦ They taught me how
to collaborate with others, and the benefit of sharing ideas
Knowing all of the essential aspects of (and how to write) a lesson plan
was very beneficial.
♦ The professionalism and confidence I gained while
at GCC has definitely been a benefit and helps me when interacting with
administration and parents.
♦ My student teaching experience gave me some
classroom management experience which was very helpful when beginning my
Also, many of the seminars during student teaching practicum
were so helpful! (I use the magic trash idea given by one presenter who
was a long-term substitute in the Grove City district, and it's been
♦ Overall, the teaching and experience at GCC combined into
a good balance that allowed me to feel prepared for this year of
teaching—even though I am still learning so much every day!
Take ideas from your student teaching experience! Look at what
your co-op does, and then adapt his/her strategies and try your own
ideas. For example,
integrate your personal style to classroom management (if you have the
freedom to try different techniques) or group activities, desk
Your co-op is there to offer advice and help you so take
advantage of his/her expertise, especially when you don't have the added
burden of dealing with parents and administrators and other full-time
I would also advise pre-service teachers to really take the time
to get to know the students they are teaching and try to make an impact
for Christ in their life. You are only with them for 7 short weeks—so make
Apply to numerous jobs! Just going through the
application/interviewing process for different jobs lets you see how
different schools handle things and what their focuses are.
As you will learn in practicum, you are interviewing the school
as much as they are interviewing you, so take the time to find out things
about the different schools where you are applying.
Take Education Career Service’s advice and do your best to be
prepared—plan and write you resume and practice your interview. Consider
the things you can do now to help you feel prepared for
applying/interviewing for jobs.
This preparation can make a huge difference!
Remember to pray about
your decision and trust that God will lead you!
There are so many of both! For me, the rewards definitely
outweigh the challenges, however! The rewards for me are that I am getting
to work with a unique population of students and train some of this
country's future leaders perhaps! (Quite exciting and lots of
I enjoy my adorable students and their wonderful accents. However, it is often a challenge to be
teaching a class full of ESL/ELL students, when I lack much training in
The culture is also very rewarding—Hondurans are so welcoming and
friendly. However, the culture also presents challenges—learning about and
interacting in a culture different from my “home” culture, I want to be
sure that my actions are acceptable and that I will not unknowingly offend
any families. So, the challenges and rewards go both ways; but, overall I
see many more rewards!
The challenges of living in another culture (particularly in
Honduras) include not being able to speak to everyone and accepting that
misunderstandings are going to occur.
Also, a challenge is the lack of safety and loss of independence
compared to what I was used to in the States.
The rewards of living in another culture are getting to make new
friends and meet other believers in the body of Christ! I am part of a
Spanish-speaking church and getting to know Hondurans outside of the
school atmosphere is such a blessing!
Other rewards include adventures in navigating a new area (with a
I enjoy the opportunities to serve so many people. There are so
many nearby opportunities to serve at orphanages, feeding centers, etc.
These serving opportunities are always a blessing to me as well as
to the receiver.
It is rewarding when I am
able to use my Spanish and communicate with others, or attend a Spanish
bible study and know what went on!
Getting to experience new
foods and activities is also wonderful!