Program of the Month Q&A: M.S.Ed. in Literacy Alum and Adjunct Faculty Member Catie Beth Sulski ’08, ’10
“The knowledge and confidence I gained because of Medaille has made teaching early readers and writers the best part of my school day.”
M.S.Ed. in literacy alum Catie Beth Sulski ’08, ’10 currently works as a second grade teacher in a co-teaching classroom at Ellicott Elementary School in the Orchard Park Central School District. After graduating and gaining more classroom experience, she came back to Medaille’s literacy program as an adjunct faculty member, teaching current master’s degree students.
Here, Sulski explains how her college education prepared her for a rewarding career, and how, as a faculty member, she tries to impart similar lessons to her own students.
What led to your decision to enroll in the M.S.Ed. in literacy program at Medaille?
The decision to enroll in the M.S.Ed. in literacy program was an easy one. I had such a positive experience in the bachelor’s degree education program at Medaille, and the College was a great fit for me. So I knew I wanted to stay there to pursue my master’s degree. I was really nervous to teach children to read and write, and I needed more knowledge and experience to feel confident in my literacy work as a teacher. I knew Medaille would get me there.
What was your favorite part of the M.S.Ed. in literacy program?
My favorite part of the program was the honest feedback and help I received from all of my instructors. If I did well on an assignment or project, I knew exactly why, and if I needed a little more direction, I also knew why and even better, how to improve. Even after I graduated from the program, I still kept in touch with a lot of the faculty members.
What is the best advice or guidance you received from a faculty member as a student?
The best guidance I received was to always treat each student I teach with an open mind. Teaching early literacy skills is truly a challenging process in which immediate growth is rarely evident, and a lot of kids struggle. It takes time and patience to pinpoint exactly what a student is already doing well, and what skills they are ready for next. I now give my own students in the literacy program the same advice.
How do you use the knowledge and skills you learned in the M.S.Ed. in literacy program in your current work?
I have often credited my career successes to the experiences I had in both the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs I completed at Medaille. The teachers in both programs, who willingly shared their experiences and guidance, truly shaped my philosophy about teaching and how I work with my young learners, as well as my adult learners. The knowledge and confidence I gained because of Medaille has made teaching early readers and writers the best part of my school day. I am so thankful for my experiences at Medaille, which have led me to where I am today, and I’m honored to still be a part of the program as an instructor now. Teaching at the college level was a dream I had for myself later on in my career, and it’s still pretty unreal to me that I’m already there!
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