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My Manchester Story

Emma Voelker

by Mam Samba | Jun 06, 2019

Emma Voelker, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a senior majoring in elementary education with a focus in high ability and minoring in psychology. Emma has big plans for the future of education and it all started with a song.

 “How did you know that you wanted to teach?”

“In third grade, I was struggling with multiplication and our math teacher taught us these multiplication songs. They were like basic nursery rhymes from two all the way up to nine, and I loved the songs. I would go home and I would sing the songs for my parents.

 Eventually, my teachers started to use me as a student aid, and would tell me to go help other students with math and other subjects. I think I’ve always had that teacher instinct. I love kids, and I knew I wanted to work with them. When I was in high school, I took a teaching prep course and I absolutely loved it. It made me realize that this is what I want to do.”

 “What does the role of a teacher mean to you?”

           “The role of a teacher means being there for kids and showing them that it’s okay to struggle, because everyone struggles. But we have to work on getting better. I want my students to know that I’m there for them if they don’t have support at home or with friends – that no matter what, I’m there for them, so they can feel comfortable coming and talking to me about anything and everything.

 The role of a teacher means being an advocate for education because there are so many things wrong with policies surrounding education. I want to show people that there are good teachers – teachers that care and want their students to succeed.”

 “What opportunities have you had within the Education Department here at Manchester?”

           “Inside the classroom, starting freshman and sophomore years, you do observation hours, and then junior year, you start with a program called Response to Intervention. You go into a classroom and you have a group of students to work with. But, we did something completely new last spring semester. Half of the junior class went to the intermediate school and we got a group of fifth-graders. It was a whole new experience for us. We were used to working with the young kids, and then we get placed in the intermediate school, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, these kids talk back to me!’ So there were many times I would go to Professor Stacy Stetzel and be like, ‘I don’t know what to do here – help me!’ That experience gave me an insight into every student.

 Fall semester of senior year, we have two classrooms we visit. One is in Fort Wayne at Lindley Elementary and the other classroom is our student teaching placement, which we visit quite frequently. For me, my student teaching placement is Madison Elementary in Warsaw. Throughout the fall, working with my students at Madison Elementary will really help me build relationships with them.”

Outside of the classroom, we do a lot of volunteering. Last year, I volunteered with the Undergrad Lit Council, and helped with a reading night. There are all kinds of great volunteer opportunities with kids, like tutoring in the elementary school and after school programs.

 “What is some advice you have for fellow college students?”

           “I would advise all students, especially education students, to get involved, whether it’s with SEA [Student Education Association] or the Undergrad Lit Council or anything in the Education Department. It really does help. You don’t have to be a part of education; I would say this to any person of any major. It looks really good on a resume, and if you get to your senior year and look back and you haven’t been involved, I think you will regret it. Once you do get involved, you realize how much it offers.”