Continuing education: Rachel Smart looks forward to sharing her love of learning

December 21, 2015

The Saline native, who has taught in both the kindergarten and toddler rooms at the ECEC and a third grade classroom, said her UM-Dearborn educators have given her the confidence to succeed in the classroom after graduation.

Rachel Smart

It all started with a white board, siblings and—occasionally—kids in the neighborhood.

“When I was little, I’d play school. I’d stand in front and show them how to do simple math or the alphabet,” said Rachael Smart, an early education major. “If I was lucky, my older brother might sit in on my class too.”

And now Smart’s love of teaching continues with a University of Michigan-Dearborn degree.

“I always knew I wanted to teach, and I came here for college because it was highly recommended by everyone I talked to,” she said. “With the one-on-one attention, smaller class sizes and the opportunity to work in the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC), there is no other place like this for an education degree.”

The Saline native, who has taught in both the kindergarten and toddler rooms at the ECEC and a third grade classroom, said her UM-Dearborn educators have given her the confidence to succeed in the classroom after graduation.

“All the faculty I’ve had have been phenomenal. They go above and beyond for us—they teach far beyond their classroom walls. They take certification tests themselves so they can help you prepare and, to help you feel more comfortable when you get your classroom, they share their own personal experience and give tips you can use.”

She said when student teaching in her Lindbergh Elementary School third grade classroom, Smart applied writing advice Assistant Professor Danielle DeFauw shared with her.

“I noticed the boys weren’t interested in writing, so I encouraged them to share personal stories. I remember Professor DeFauw talking about that and saying what worked for her to get them to write about their experiences,” she said. “Now they are writing paragraphs and their writing is legible. It worked. And it’s been wonderful to see them grow.”

Smart said every day is different, both as a student and as an educator, and she is excited to start her new journey.

“I feel prepared to go out and excel in my field. I’m going to give my students the best I can, just like many of my teachers did for me.”

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