Featuring Kristen (Cospito) DiBlasi '08
Position: 6th Grade Math Teacher
School: Fairview School District
Location: Erie, PA
Graduate School: SUNY Albany
Graduate Program: Literacy and Special Education
(Profiled: November 2011)
♦ How did you connect with this job
♦ 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?
Upon graduation from GCC, I moved back home
to NY and pursued a master’s degree in Literacy and Special Education at
SUNY Albany. I completed my program in 2009, got married in early 2010,
and then moved to Erie, PA to join my husband—who was already in Erie
attending LECOM as a medical student.
I researched several local school districts in Erie, and Fairview
immediately stood out as being an excellent district. I sent my
application in for an elementary opening, and was extremely disappointed
when I received a letter that the position had been filled. I continued
my job search elsewhere until I got a call over the summer. A
middle-school math position had opened at Fairview Middle School, and
because the district had kept my file on record, my application
immediately surfaced due to my middle-school mathematics certification
(I had a math/science emphasis at Grove City and got the add-on
certification in middle school math). After that initial call from the
principal, I went through several interviews, including a performance
interview, and was hired a few weeks later.
I initially applied to Fairview School
District because of its excellent reputation in Erie County as well as
the district’s mission of, “Developing the whole student. Achieving
excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts.”
After hearing about the middle-school math position, I was very excited
about teaching in a middle-school setting and focusing on one content
area. In addition, I was excited about being a part of two teams within
the building (content-area and grade-level) and the opportunity to work
with other talented professionals.
I currently have about 130 students, and the
students are definitely the best part of my job. I love how not only do
I get to teach my students, but I also learn something from them
everyday. Middle-school students are funny!
I also am blessed to work with amazing faculty and staff members.
Initially, my biggest challenge was putting
all of the “pieces” together. I had a great education through both GCC
and my graduate program and felt very prepared for my job—I envisioned
my organized classroom, I anticipated creating routines and procedures,
I knew the importance of communication with parents and families, and I
understood how effective instruction was the key—but I was given a
blank slate. Within a few days, I settled into a great routine, but it
took a lot of time, thought, and preparation to create the classroom
environment in which my students would be successful.
However, my job is never “finished.” The nature of being a teacher
requires reflection. I am continually refining my teaching practices, as
well as my classroom routines and procedures.
I could probably write pages about how Grove
City prepared me to be an educator, but I’ll try and highlight the main
♦ I was given a solid education foundation with a Christian world view–
understanding that the calling of a teacher goes beyond the classroom
♦ I learned practical and current teaching practices in order to be an
♦ I gained various and diverse teaching experiences through embedded and
independent field experiences (rural, suburban, private, public, and
♦ Take advantage of every opportunity to be in
the classroom through field experiences.
♦ Attend professional development seminars and begin networking.
♦Get to know your professors – they are invaluable resources and they
have a vested interest in your future.
♦ Start early. Most districts will keep your
file on record for a year. In my situation, it’s how I landed my job.
♦ Make a teaching portfolio—a working document to highlight your
strengths as an educator, your philosophy of education and your teaching
experiences. Not only will it be an interview requirement for many
districts, but it will also help you prepare for interview questions
because it is such a personal and reflective document.
♦ Do a mock interview with Mrs. Snyder—it really helps you to prepare
for job interviews.
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