In July 2017, Kelly Gavin Zuckerman, Program Coordinator/Advisor/Lecturer, spoke with Clio Bodie, Haverford College Class of 2017, about her post-graduation plans.
What is next for you?
I will be starting in September at Bank Street Graduate School of Education where I will be studying elementary education, both general and special. I will get a Masters of Science in Education and certification in both General and Special Education for grades 1- 6.
How did you decide on Bank Street?
Alice Lesnick first suggested that I look into it, and it seemed like a really special school. When I talked to the woman from Bank Street during the admissions process who will now be my advisor, I really felt that all of the values that they teach and hold are what I learned about at Haverford and Bryn Mawr. These values are what I want to take into my own teaching — being child-centered, interested in individual child growth and development, and holding a really progressive focus on social justice curriculum.
How do you think your education studies will inform your studies at Bank Street?
I will use so much of what I learned at Haverford and Bryn Mawr as I move forward. I learned a lot about implementing student-centered pedagogy and building curriculum that will be helpful, especially because I will be working in a classroom in some capacity while taking classes. On the philosophical side, I learned about empowering students, working with diverse learners, guiding growth, and encouraging curiosity. Bank Street prioritizes these things, and also has a big focus on including social justice curriculum in the classroom, which I have become passionate about through taking various classes with Heather Curl. For instance, when I took “Curriculum and Pedagogy” with Heather this past fall, we talked a lot about social justice curriculum and anti-racist pedagogy, and I got the chance to build units and lesson plans while thinking about meeting the needs of diverse learners. I have been truly inspired by Heather over the years, and it has become really important to me that I be an advocate for social justice through my teaching, and I think that will be a really helpful background to have moving into Bank Street.
What is a favorite memory that you have of the Education Program?
I took “Empowering Learners” with Alice Lesnick during the spring of my sophomore year, and it was a really transformative class for me in the way that I conceptualized myself as a thinker, a learner, and as a future teacher. After taking “Critical Issues in Education” I thought, “Teaching really does seem like something that I would want to do,” but I felt like in “Empowering Learners” I crossed that bridge to, “This is definitely where I want my future to take me.” I remember preparing to write my final paper for that class. I was talking to Alice about my ideas and how to take all that I had learned from the course and put it into one paper, and I had never been more excited about writing a paper before. It was truly such an inspiring course. Writing my notes for that final paper, I really felt like I was thinking of myself as a learner, a teacher, and as someone who could empower others in such a new way. I never got to take another class with Alice, but she was my Education Program advisor and I have always just found her brilliant.
What advice do you have for current students in the Education Program?
I would say I learned a lot in the education department about the importance of being reflective, and I really encourage others in the program to practice being reflective—to think back to where your thinking first started and how it has transformed. For me, looking back at different papers that I had written throughout my various education classes was really helpful for me in seeing how my thinking had changed and where I needed to continue learning and growing. A lot of the education courses give you a great opportunity to do that in portfolios or final paper writing, especially in the cumulative classes in the last year. I would suggest that students really use that as an experience to grow as thinkers, especially when moving into teaching. One thing that I have learned about education is that when teaching, it is critical to continue asking yourself, “How did that work? Where could I have done better? What can I change for next time?” and also “What did I do right? What really went well with this?” The Education Program gives a lot of opportunities to be reflective, so take those chances.