Student Teacher Returns to Her Roots, Changes Career for the Classroom

Abby Wittler, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Mrs. Traci Belongia, a graduate of Notre Dame Academy, has returned to her roots to complete her student teaching.

After graduating from college, she worked as a social worker and adoption counselor with a private organization. She worked for Adoption Choice for nine years as a counselor.

Her interest in teaching started when the principal of her children’s school asked her to be a substitute teacher at their school, and she fell in love with teaching.

 “In the back of my mind, I kind of always wanted to be a teacher but chose social work first because I thought I would get a job easier after I graduated,” she explained.

She has been taking classes through Concordia University since September of 2017, in June she will be graduating with her teaching license and continuing to take classes for her  masters.

When she graduates from this program, she plans to teach high school social studies, economics or other social science subjects.

She decided on these subjects because she loves learning about people and societies along with history and how we learn from it throughout the years.

Belongia said she has learned so much from Mrs. Campbell through her shadowing.

“Some of the things I’ve learned are that it’s okay to have students take notes during class for the majority of the period and that you do not always need group activities every day. It’s also okay to give worksheets and have students look in their textbook or online for information.”

She also noted it is important to “hold students accountable for missed work and notes when they miss class.”

Teaching has been much different and better than what she expected it to be, and she is very glad to have been able to go back to school to be a teacher.

A challenge that she has gone through with teaching is keeping the students interested and the lessons fun so they absorb the information.  She knows what she wants to teach but has to do it in a way that students will understand.

“I love having conversations with students and talking about how their game went or what they are doing on the weekend. It’s also great when you are teaching, and you see that the students really understand what you are teaching, and they get excited about it.”

That, she said, was her favorite part of teaching.