Master of Arts in Teaching, 2010
School of Education
November 1, 2013
“My current career, as a volunteer third grade English Language Arts (ELA) and reading teacher, is my best job ever!”
Dr. Gail Spivack (M.A.T./M.A. class of 2010) is in her fourth year teaching at El Sol Academy in Santa Ana. “My current career, as a volunteer third grade English Language Arts (ELA) and reading teacher, is my best job ever!”
Dr. Spivack started her post-secondary education at a Florida community college where she earned a license as a medical technologist. After seven years of working as a med tech running labs in primary care physician practices, she earned a B.S. in Textile Science from Florida State University, an M.S. in Textile Materials and Management from North Carolina State, and a Ph.D. in Textiles from Virginia Tech. Throughout her education, Gail worked in university health center labs as a med tech in the evenings and on weekends.
After earning her Ph.D, Gail was hired as an assistant professor at Cornell University in the Department of Textiles. Subsequently, Gail was employed as a research scientist at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Cincinnati, Ohio. After retirement from P&G and a move to California, Gail began volunteering in the THINK Together after-school program at Sepulveda Elementary in Santa Ana.
I tutored first graders in English Language Arts and Math for three years at Sepulveda and fell in love with the kids and the challenges.
During her time at Sepulveda, Gail earned a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from UC Irvine Extension.
I entered the TESL program to learn how to help my first graders succeed as they bridged two cultures and two languages. I also took Spanish at UC Irvine for the same reason.
After completing the TESL program, Gail realized that she wanted more; she wanted to be able to input into the curriculum and methods of instruction in the classroom, not just deliver someone else’s program.
I was interested in a graduate teaching program that emphasized multicultural commitment and awareness, along with rigorous grounding in pedagogy and subject matter expertise. The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program at UCI fit the bill on paper, and more than delivered in practice.
Gail considers herself very lucky to have found her niche, and the opportunity to teach at El Sol.
El Sol is a dual language immersion charter in SAUSD. By third grade some students are struggling with the increasing percent of curriculum delivered in English, and I serve as a resource to those students and their teachers. I teach small group reading and ELA classes and use everything I learned in the MAT program every day. Spending time with smart and funny third graders, and their dedicated teachers and committed parents, is the best job I’ve ever had.
Gail lives in Irvine with her husband, David, and two cats. They have a daughter who teaches middle and high school history in Santa Clarita, and another in graduate school at USC. In her spare time Gail swims, reads, and works on lesson plans.