My name is Nicole Huttner, and I’m a recent graduate from New York University and a future childhood and special education teacher. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to impart knowledge onto others. Growing up, my favorite game was “school” where my friends would act as students while I was the teacher. At my actual school, I quickly developed strong relationships with my teachers, wanting to learn as much as I could from them. I didn’t know it then, but this would lead me to pursue a career in teaching. As a teacher, I will demonstrate my passion for education by encouraging students to become lifelong learners. I will also serve as a mentor to young minds and provide students with a better future through education.
Throughout high school and college, I had the opportunity to be a student teacher at several NYC public schools in different grades and with students of varying abilities. I’m always seeking more ways to contribute, so my interest was piqued when I received an email about The Graide Network through Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society for future educators.
I was beyond excited after researching The Graide Network and learning about their commitment to effective feedback and student learning. The opportunity to become a Graider directly aligned with my goal of becoming a teacher. In addition to practicing my grading and feedback skills, I received individual coaching from The Graide Network staff to hone those skills. They always provided feedback in a friendly and actionable manner, so I knew both what my strongest skills were and how to improve in other areas. The feedback never criticized me but rather built me up to be the best Graider that I could be. The constant exposure to effective feedback allowed me to complete my teacher certification tasks with ease and confidence. I look forward to implementing this method of structured and supportive feedback in my own classroom this fall.
As I continued to provide feedback on assignments with The Graide Network, I engaged with student work across diverse subjects, grade levels, and regions, which showed me the diversity that exists in our education system. After 6 months of working with The Graide Network, I was promoted to a Senior Graider position. In this new role, I coached Graiders on how to provide effective feedback while still receiving ongoing coaching in order to support my growth. This role allowed me to be a “teacher” to my fellow Graiders by guiding them on how to deliver effective feedback and provide the best outcomes for students.
Although the invaluable connection to The Graide Network was the most influential opportunity that KDP provided me, KDP also offers many other phenomenal resources. I was connected with professional development classes, online forums, and articles to continue my learning as a teacher. The most meaningful and practical professional development class that I took through KDP was Classroom Management Basics. In this class, I explored research-based methods in class management and developed a classroom management plan with my peers and KDP associates.
Some other resources within KDP include:
Online forums: Forums provide opportunities to talk with other students and teachers about real life successes and problems within the teaching world.
Articles: As an educator, it is important to be aware of new research, ideas, and resources! KDP’s articles have the latest news from the education world and plenty of information on how teaching skills can be improved.
Overall, my experience with Kappa Delta Pi has given me outstanding opportunities within the field of education. The decision to become a teacher is a commitment to being a lifelong learner, and KDP facilitates that process. Without KDP, I would not have received the opportunity to connect with The Graide Network and develop the grading and feedback expertise that I now have.
Here are some tips for future teachers:
Put in your best effort in all of your coursework and fieldwork! Wouldn’t you want your students to do the same in your future classes?
Take initiative and be a leader! You want your passion for education to stand out in your classes and student teaching. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions in class, ask for more responsibility, and try out new ideas in the classroom. Standing out as a leader is an important characteristic for the classroom.
Join KPD and read their emails! They regularly have job postings, articles, and webinars to expand your knowledge about education and life in the classroom.