Meet the Graduate Teaching Fellows

The College of Education currently has 13 Graduate Teaching Fellows. In conjunction with our partner school districts, these Graduate Teaching Fellows teach full-time in K -12 classrooms while also pursuing a graduate degree. We are proud to be respresented by these individuals. Read on to learn more about our current Teaching Fellows.

For more information or to apply to our upcoming Fellow program:

2021-2022 Fellow Application

Isla graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education. She currently teaches eighth grade health and physical education at Mankato Area Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Leadership.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field, Isla said she wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of future generations. Isla enjoys teaching eight grade health and physical education because she gets to watch her students grow their healthy habits. “I get to watch students improve on their skills and incorporate strategies to take their sports knowledge to the next level.”

As a new teacher in the field, Isla notes the importance of learning and growing as you go. Isla has learned to navigate her way through the learning process. “I have learned the importance of staying true to myself and being willing to learn from my mistakes.”

Outside of teaching, Isla enjoys staying active and spending time outside. Some of her favorite activities include doing yoga and going on bike rides.

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Isla encourages individuals to discover their motive as to why they want to become an educator. “My advice is to identify your ‘why’ and stick to it.” Along with this, one of Isla’s favorite quotes is, “be the energy you want to attract.”

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows!

​Emma graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches fourth grade at St. Peter Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Technology.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field Emma shared, “growing up, my mother had a home daycare. I was raised to help these young children and watch them grow up. I am also the oldest of five children. I grew up as someone who enjoyed helping people, especially when it came to their learning. The excitement on their faces when they understood a concept or passed a spelling test made me feel excited for them and it's a huge reason that I do what I do now.”

Emma enjoys teaching fourth grade because her students are learning to apply what they learn into life skills. “It’s incredible to see how these students become more responsible, they start applying the foundations to their social, emotional, and academic learning.”

As a new teacher in the field, Emma has learned being an advocate for not only yourself but others play a big role in a student’s success. “Advocate for yourself, your staff, and your students. If you feel like a student is struggling or you need some support, speak up.”

Outside of teaching, Emma enjoys her alone time. “I’m a huge introvert and get my energy from my time alone. While I love seeing my friends and family, I need independent tasks like reading, completing puzzles, and baking.”

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Emma believes in the importance of supporting students. “Your students emotional and social wellbeing is going to be just as much, if not more, of a priority for you than their academic wellbeing. Be diligent about getting to know your students and developing that trust within your classroom. Once that trust and caring are established, the teaching is easier!”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Emma explains how beneficial it has been for her. “I have the time and energy where I feel like I am actually learning from my classes, not just completing assignments. The strategies I learn in my college courses, I am now using in my classroom!” Along with this, one of Emma’s favorite quotes comes from the musical Phantom of the Opera. “Think of me fondly.” This quote resonates with Emma because, “people come and go and I would hope they would think back at our time together in a positive way!”

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Sarah graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches fourth grade at Centennial Public Schools while also pursuing a graduate degree in Teaching and Learning.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field, Sarah stated she wanted to make a difference in the lives of her students. “It’s important for my students to have a positive role model in their lives. I aspire to be that role model for them every day.”

Sarah enjoys teaching fourth grade because her students are driven to take their learning into their own hands. She describes how her students are not afraid to let their personalities shine through “This age students are not afraid of expressing their personalities.” Sarah has been amazed by how independent her fourth graders are. “It is great to see the students wanting to pick up a book and start reading at any time during the day. I love being able to be a part of students' lives as they are developing into great individuals.”

As a new teacher in the field, Sarah has learned that every day isn’t perfect and asking for help is okay when needed. “I have found it’s extremely important to take the positives from each day and start fresh the next. I also have learned that it’s very important to ask for help when you need it, even it is something small.”

Outside of teaching, Sarah enjoys the outdoors and being active by taking long walks. She also enjoys putting together puzzles and spending time with her family.

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Sarah believes teaching is a very rewarding career. She encourages those who are wanting to become an educator to not be discouraged by the difficult days. “The great thing about teaching is that if you have a hard day, the next day will be different. The kids really know how to put a smile on your face!”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Sarah feels this is a great opportunity to get started on a master’s degree while having a mentor who is there with you during your first year of teaching. “You get to practice and use your time management skills as you’re going to school and teaching.” Along with this, Sarah’s favorite inspirational quote is, “By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.”

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Kyle graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. He currently teaches kindergarten at Owatonna Public Schools while also pursuing a graduate degree in Reading.

When asked what drew him to the teaching field Kyle responded, “There were two main reasons I went into teaching. My elementary years were extremely vulnerable, I was bullied and didn’t feel comfortable going to my teachers about it. I wanted to become a teacher who students can open up to. I also wanted a rewarding career where I could do more. Kids are the future and I wanted to be able to be a positive, supportive role model to the future of our world.”

Kyle enjoys teaching kindergarten because his students are always looking forward to his lesson plans. “I love the excitement and wonder of the kindergarteners I teach. Every new thing they are learning or experiencing, they approach with excitement.”

As a new teacher in the field, Kyle has learned that networking and collaborating are extremely important in ensuring students’ success. “The importance of getting to know and collaborating with other staff has been one of the most important things I have learned so far. Everyone in the school is here to support the students and it takes a team to have a successful classroom.”

Outside of teaching, Kyle enjoys playing golf. He also enjoys relaxing at home and going out to dinner in his free time.

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Kyle believes that it’s a very rewarding career. “It is the most rewarding, most impactful career you can choose, and in the moments you feel overwhelmed, know that you can do it and think about your ‘why’. Think about the kids who you are giving a constant safe space to because you may be the only one they have.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Kyle expresses, “This is a fantastic opportunity to look into. You will be the most supported teacher in your building because you not only have your supporting staff at your school, you also have supporting staff/peers from the college.” Along with this, Kyle’s favorite inspirational quote is “The first step is you have to say that you can,” by Will Smith.

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows!

Emma graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with an undergraduate degree in K-12 and Physical Education Teaching and a minor in Coaching. She currently teaches 9th-grade physical education and 10th-grade health at Mankato Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in Community Health Education. Emma is currently completing her second year as a Graduate Teaching Fellow.

When asked what made her decide to continue the Graduate Teaching Fellowship program for another year, Emma responded, “the opportunity to complete my master’s program and graduate debt-free. The other deciding factor for me was I was able to continue my position at Mankato East High School as a health and physical education teacher. I wanted to continue working for this district and the Mankato community while building relationships with my students from last year and new students to come.”

Outside of teaching Emma enjoys staying active by weight lifting, spending time outdoors, and coaching sports year-round in the Mankato community. Along with this, Emma enjoys playing games and painting.

The most valuable piece of information Emma has learned from her first full year of teaching is setting the classroom rules and expectations. “Setting rules and expectations is key—this can make a major difference in every class and can lead to less stress and unexpected behaviors. Also, it is okay to ask for help and guidance.”

When reflecting on her first year of teaching, something that pleasantly surprised Emma was how her students valued her as their teacher. “I made a difference in the lives of students last year. Students enjoyed being in my classes last year and coming back for another year allowed me to see how much my students valued me as their teacher.”

As a returning teaching fellow, Emma’s advice for the first-year fellows is time management. “Juggling graduate school, teaching, and life, in general, is a lot to handle. Using time management will help decrease stress and lead to more effective planning.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering a career in teaching, Emma states, “If you are considering a teaching major, start getting into the classroom now to see if teaching is for you. There are a lot of moving parts in a teaching career, such as planning lessons, attending meetings, reflection, grading, communicating with parents/ guardians, correcting behaviors, etc. The sooner you get in the classroom, the quicker you will understand how much goes into teaching.” Along with this, Emma’s favorite inspirational quote is “Healing is not linear.” This quote is important to Emma because she believes everyone is walking a different path and may struggle from time to time.

Meet All Our Fellows

Brandi graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches 4th grade at Centennial Public Schools District while pursuing a graduate degree in Elementary Education. Brandi is completing her second year as a Graduate Teaching Fellow.

When asked what made her decide to continue the Graduate Teaching Fellowship program for another year, Brandi responded, “Based on the experience I had with my first year of the Fellowship Grad Program I decided on another year. I enjoy telling my students that I’m also a student just like they are. It’s fun to have something in common with your students.”

Outside of teaching, Brandi’s spare time is limited with being a full-time teacher and balancing college work but when she does have a glimpse of time, Brandi enjoys golfing and reorganizing various rooms in her house.

The most valuable piece of information Brandi has learned from her first full year of teaching is that “teaching is never concrete! I realized the majority of teaching is in this grey area where there isn’t always a right or wrong answer. You simply teach what feels like the right thing to do, as you use your curriculum and students to guide your teaching.”

When reflecting on her first year of teaching, something that pleasantly surprised Brandi was her students’ flexibility. “Changes occurred on a daily, and most of the times students were able to adapt to those changes and roll with it. Whether it felt like a rushed or busy day, kids just accepted it for what was in a positive way.”

As a returning teaching fellow, Brandi’s advice for the first-year fellows is to find a connection with their students. “The more you know about your kids, the easier it is for you to understand when they don’t understand pieces of academics or are in need to chat. On the flip side, keeping those relationships close but also having a stern classroom expectation so they don’t unknowingly take advantage of the shared space.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering a career in teaching, Brandi states, “It is our job to teach them, but they teach you so much more. The majority of students are so willing to learn and simply look up to you as their teacher, but also a role model. We greatly impact these children, and it’s our job to do it in a fun and empathetic way!” Along with this, Brandi’s favorite inspirational quote is “Kids will learn.” They may not have understood the entire lesson that you just taught, but you’re making an impact on those kiddos every day.

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows!

 

Megan graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches kindergarten at Faribault Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in Special Education.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field, Chelsea shared that her mom is a teacher who inspired her to become an educator. “My mom is a teacher and I remember growing up hearing her incredible stories around the dinner table. I admired what she did so much even when I was just in second grade. I remember thinking that teaching is one of the most incredible things a person can do with their life, and I never changed my mind.”

Megan enjoys teaching kindergarten because she loves all of the joy the little kids hold. Her students always seem so excited to be in school and have a passion to learn and make new friends. “Kindergarteners have a special joy about them that makes my job so happy.”

Outside of teaching, Megan enjoys taking weekend trips down to Mankato to visit her sister and her friends. While in Mankato, they enjoy going for walks, watching movies, and going out to eat. Megan also enjoys reading, but said, “only if it’s a book I truly am excited about.”

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Megan believes it is a decision that should be well thought through. “Make sure that you take the time to think about if the career is truly right for you. Having such a strong impact on a child’s life is the most incredible thing in the world, so you need to make sure it’s something you want to do.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Megan expresses how much she values the fellowship program. “I say go for it! It is a lot of hard work, but it has been so worth it.” Along with this, one of Megan’s favorite quotes is from Robin Williams “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows!

Payne graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Communication Arts and Literature. He currently teaches 10th and 11th grade English at Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in English studies. Payne is completing his second year as a Graduate Teaching Fellow.

When asked what made him decide to continue the Graduate Teaching Fellowship program for another year, Payne responded, “I enjoy the district I’m teaching in and without this program, I wouldn’t have been able to teach at this district. My goal is to complete a large portion of my graduate coursework before the end of this year.”

The most valuable piece of information Payne learned from his first full year of teaching is flexibility. “You can’t expect to go into any classroom and have your plans work perfectly. You need to learn how to adjust and go with the flow.”

When reflecting on his first year of teaching, something that pleasantly surprised Payne was his energy capacity. “I expected to be completely exhausted after teaching each day, but somehow I learned to use the momentum of teaching to keep up my energy throughout my days.”

As a returning teaching fellow, Payne’s advice for the first-year fellows is, “be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to breathe. Teach great lessons and make connections with the students, and everything else will fall into place.”

For individuals considering a career in teaching, Payne has one piece of advice “Make sure you have an abundance of patience. There are lots of stressful times that can only be navigated with patience.” Along with this, Payne’s favorite inspirational quote is by Ryan Holiday, “the obstacle is the way.”

Outside of teaching, Payne runs a video game company which launched their first game in 2020. He is currently the co-developer, programmer, and sound designer on their second gaming project. Payne expresses, “I play a lot of video games when I’m not making them.” Besides gaming, Payne enjoys trying new restaurants around Mankato with his girlfriend.

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows

Jenny graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Communication Arts and Literature Education. She currently teaches seventh and eighth grade at Tri-City United Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in School Library and Information Studies.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field Jenny shared her experiences with working in a daycare. “Seeing the children learn and grow and knowing that I was part of that was an amazing feeling. This pushed me to change my major from ASL interpreting to education.”

Jenny enjoys teaching seventh and eighth grade because her students are humorous. “I like that seventh and eighth graders are willing to be a little silly during class and try different activities. They’re also willing to provide honest feedback!”

As a new teacher in the field, Jenny has learned not to be too hard on herself. “Sometimes lessons don’t go as well as I want them to and that’s okay!”

In her spare time, Jenny enjoys reading, playing board games with friends, playing Animal Crossing, and going on walks with her dog Teddy.

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Jenny believes that having a mentor is crucial. “I’ve been so lucky with both my student teaching placements and my fellowship at TCU. I’ve had amazing mentors who are always willing to listen and give advice.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Jenny expresses the great amount of support she has received so far. “If you’re considering applying for the fellowship, do it! My biggest fear going into teaching was jumping into it on my own after having so much support while student teaching. Having the support of a TOSA as I start my career has been so helpful!”

Meet All Our Teaching Fellows!

Chelsea graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches first grade at Tri-City United Public Schools while pursuing a graduate degree in Elementary Education.

When asked what drew her to the teaching field, Chelsea shared, “I wanted to inspire the minds of youth. I believe learning is a lifelong skill and I want students to enjoy learning in or outside the classroom.” Chelsea enjoys teaching first grade because her students bring a lot of creativity into the classroom. “What I like most about first grade is their creativity & their unique personalities.”

As a new teacher, Chelsea has learned the importance of classroom community. “I learned that building a classroom community comes before the curriculum.”

Outside of teaching Chelsea enjoys traveling to new places and shopping. Chelsea also prioritizes staying active in her free time.

For individuals who are considering a career in teaching, Chelsea believes it is a great profession to pursue. “It is a very rewarding career. Every day is a new day and it is important to take it one day at a time.”

As for advice to undergraduate students considering applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Chelsea expresses the importance of being organized while being both a teacher and a student. “Pace yourself and use your time wisely. Divide your time in the classroom as well as your studies.”

Meet all our Teaching Fellows!