Associate Professor of Education Shares Students' Desire to Impact the Future
Erin McDonnell-Jones is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Program at Bellevue University. The program recently received formal approval of its Secondary Teacher Education Program endorsement programs from the Nebraska State Board of Education.
What is your favorite thing about working at Bellevue University?
The students. Many of our students join us after enrolling in a different program or even after working in the field for a few years. They find that they are unsatisfied with their path and they want to come back to education and teach. Their desire to impact future students and their resilience to get there are admirable and make my job much more fun!
I know the teacher education program at Bellevue University is just a few years old, but that you're not new to education. Can you tell me your experience as either a practicing teacher or as an educator preparing future teachers?
Previous to being at Bellevue (University), I was a high school English teacher in a school district outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Go Eagles!). In addition to teaching, I was a coach, an ed tech liaison, a union rep, and supervised many student clubs. In all of my free time, I was earning my doctorate and teaching as an adjunct at two separate universities.
What have you learned over years of experience in preparing teachers?
That our students are resilient! You can ask a lot of them if you give them the support they need. They’re hard working, they’re willing, and they’re capable of greater things than we can imagine.
Can you give people outside the teaching profession an idea of the depth of preparation that goes into preparing and educating teachers to be in the classroom?
Preparing teachers begins beyond the classroom. We have to be on top of and in the know of the latest research and policies. We have to make sure our curriculum is aligned not only with state and federal standards but also that it’s relevant and engaging for our students. We have to be aware of the technological trends and informational outputs that can have an impact on student’s learning and make sure that it’s meeting everyone’s needs. And that’s all before the semester begins!
Goals moving forward that you would like to share.
I’d like to see our program continue to grow and become the #1 education program in Nebraska and become an influence in the country!
What does Bellevue University means to you?
Bellevue University means a lot to me; it gave me a home when my husband and I decided to move to Nebraska to start a new adventure when I accepted this job.