B.A. in Psychology & Social Behavior, 2006; Master of Arts in Teaching, 2008
School of Education
April 1, 2011
“I found my niche at UCI.”
I found my niche at UC Irvine after attending several other colleges. My original plan was to pursue a career in law enforcement, specifically the FBI. Like many freshman I decided to move away so I chose Santa Cruz. However, I discovered I was a Southern California girl, so I moved back, settled in Huntington Beach, and attended community college. As part of the TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee) program I chose to transfer to UCI to complete my bachelor’s degree. In preparation for entering law enforcement I majored in Psychology and Social Behavior with a minor in Criminology. As a senior I began to have doubts about a career in law enforcement.
When I was young I had always thought that I didn’t want to be a teacher, but UCI’s Teacher Intern program caught my eye. After my interview with program director Karol Gottfredson, I became very excited about the program and about the potential for helping young people. However, when I met with the other candidates and interviewed for positions at the school sites, I began to feel I was not as qualified as some of the other candidates. Nevertheless, I was determined to succeed and remained excited about becoming a math teacher so I entered the Intern program.
In Spring 2007 I started my student teaching at Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove with a wonderful master teacher. After only after two weeks the Principal offered me a long-term substitute position. Wow, I thought, what an opportunity and a challenge! I learned the class had previously had three substitutes who had all quit, but with the help of my college supervisor and master teacher I learned to manage the class and brought the students back on track. Additionally, since I was a full-time teacher and a full-time student, I quickly learned to manage my time. When I completed the year, I felt very confident about my ability to teach.
The UCI Teacher Intern Program was a great help. The Interns worked well together, and the professors encouraged collaboration to bring out the best in all of us. The three of us who were math Interns became great friends. We called ourselves the “Pythagorean Triplets” and were a real support system for each other.
My career has been both rewarding and challenging. During the summer of 2007 I went back to school full time and also taught summer school. In the fall of 2007 I started my internship, teaching full time at Rancho Alamitos. I taught remedial classes and college prep classes and traveled to four different classrooms throughout the year. I survived with very little sleep, but I was able to persevere with the amazing support of UCI’s professors and my fellow Interns. I completed the Intern Program and received my teaching credential in June 2008. Toward the end of the school year my Principal, offered me the position of Math Peer Coach for my site. I considered this offer quite an honor and gladly accepted for the 2008-2009 school year. I now had my own classroom and started training for my Peer Coach Position. As a second year teacher I began taking on additional responsibilities at Rancho such as teaching Credit Recovery after school and advising our school’s California Scholarship Federation (CSF) Chapter.
In the spring of my third year I was given an opportunity to give back to the UCI Intern program. I helped prepare a UCI Intern for her full year internship. I really enjoyed working with her and learning what it means to be a Master Teacher. I was gratified when she became one of the few in the program to be offered a position in the Garden Grove Unified School District.
Now in my fourth year at Rancho Alamitos I am still the CSF advisor and also the junior class advisor. As math peer coach for our site, I have begun working with CSU Long Beach through a National Science Foundation grant. I also take part in the Intern Advisory Council at UCI. Finally this past fall I started my Master’s Program in Educational Leadership. My future plan includes working towards a principal position and eventually superintendent of an urban school district.
I would like to thank UCI professors and staff for giving me the support I needed to become a math teacher who reaches out to her students and is also team player on the school site. I no longer think of myself as an “underdog” but feel like I am helping to build the future generation.