SNC ‘Blocker’ Learns She’s ‘Meant to Be a Teacher’

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Kylie Callaway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

This semester Notre Dame is host to nine SNC Block Students, sophomores considering teaching as a career.

. One of these students is Ms. Isabelle Kordus. She decided to teach because she saw her mom teaching fourth grade. Watching the students grow gave her a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Through teaching gymnastics, swimming lessons, and other programs, Kordus has gotten a feel for the positives of teaching. She wants to make math the same way, tolerable yet enjoyable through creative approaches. 

Observing and pre-student teaching at NDA has reassured me that I am heading in the right direction with my future. I have also learned a lot more about all of the behind-the-scenes work and thought processes teachers have to go through to make sure they are meeting the needs of their students. I am also more aware of how often teachers have to change things up or throw away their plans on the fly in the interest of students’ success. Finally I have become a lot more aware of the range of student needs and skill sets within a single class and subject,” said the SNC “blocker.” 

Ms. Hailey Frederick has worked with Kordus during her stint here. The NDA teacher has exposed her to different tools and techniques that the college student has never encountered. Frederick has shown Kordus why she makes the decisions she does and how she caters to the students’ needs. 

Kordus is grateful to have Frederick as her mentor. Another major mentor was her high school biology teacher.

In high school I had a bio teacher that I absolutely loved! She was very open and advocated for mental health awareness. She also made sure to get to know each student individually and would show it through giving stickers on graded tests that related to the individual student’s interests/hobbies and creating different playlists for each class out of the students’ favorite songs. This made each student feel seen and as though they belonged. Despite the good relationship she had with each student she was still very strict and held us to a high standard. This allowed us to have a fun and welcoming environment while also ensuring that we were gaining new knowledge and learning the material,” explained Kordus.

Notre Dame is her first experience of teaching “real” students. At SNC these future teachers do mock lessons where their peers are their students. In high school, Kordus had the opportunity to take an education course through UW-Oshkosh and was able to observe how a class was taught. 

There are always doubts in life. It is difficult to get over these worries. For Kordus, it is how the students view her. Younger teachers are sometimes less respected by students who don’t acknowledge their authority. Another concern is remembering all the required material. Thankfully many teachers have re-assured her this is normal. Kordus has learned the best way to overcome this is to review the material. This will allow her to help all students to the best of her ability.

“I think the most difficult thing for me is trying to create relationships with my students,” said Kordus. “I have a brother in high school and so it is sometimes hard for me to not talk to students here the same way I might talk to him or a friend. I also think this is difficult because I am new near the end of the school year, and I am younger so it is harder to see me as a teacher, and take me seriously.”

“The easiest thing for me,” she continued, “has been seeing that I am meant to be a teacher. Before observing, I was so worried that I was not cut out to do this, or that I would get in the classroom and dislike every minute of it. I love it and this has assured me that I am on the right path!”