Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Maria Rosalba Trejo-Mendiola, a student in the master of science in teaching program. She is isolating from her home in Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County.)
My name is Maria Rosalba Trejo-Mendiola. I was born in Querétaro, Mexico. I moved to the United States at the age of 11. At an early age, I discovered my biggest passion in life was helping others. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to work with people. Of all the possible careers that I could have pursued, I fell in love with the one profession that makes all other professions possible: teaching. I attended Cumberland County College, now known as Rowan College of South Jersey, where I completed my associate degree in Liberal Arts. I then transferred to Rowan University where I completed my bachelor’s in Spanish. Then, I started working as a Career Placement Developer for Pathstone, a non-profit organization.
Currently, I am earning my master of science in teaching and completing a full-year clinical internship as a Spanish teacher at Vineland High School. My student teaching experience has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I have learned many strategies that I plan on incorporating in my own future Spanish classroom. From my professors, I have learned that to serve all students, it is very important to implement a Universal Design for Learning and that developing meaningful lesson plans goes a long way.
My classes at Rowan University have allowed me to go into my field placement and put into practice what I have learned in class. This year, as part of World Language’s methods sequence: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment I: World Languages and Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment II: World Languages, I learned about High Leverage Teaching Practices (HLTP) for World Languages (Glisan & Donato, 2017). One of the biggest takeaways from these classes was learning about these practices and being able to incorporate it into my lessons. This also allowed me to learn about my own strengths and weaknesses.
From my classmates, I have learned that it is very important to be supportive of each other; to give each other feedback and to be willing to share ideas. From my Cooperating Teacher, Sra. DeJesús, I have learned that it is important to develop positive relationships with the students. I have also learned different methods of teaching. One of my favorites methods of teaching is learning centers. Through Sra. DeJesus, I have become a strong believer that learning centers offer students the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. If learning centers are well-designed, students will be able to walk away with valuable information. I am very thankful that my cooperating teacher has been very supportive throughout this learning experience. Sra. DeJesús allowed me to be involved in the classroom since day one of my field experience, allowing me to have as much practice as possible. I have developed strong bonds with the students, confirming for me that I have chosen the correct field to pursue a career in, teaching. From my field supervisor, I have learned about lesson planning. I have learned to reflect on what worked well and what can use improvement.
I am very thankful to everyone that has helped me grow as a professional in one capacity or another. I also want to thank my family for always supporting my daughter and myself, throughout this learning process.
As far as my remote work, the transition has been really smooth. My cooperating teacher has been using Google classroom for a long time now. We have been collaborating together to teach remotely. We have incorporated Zoom meetings and Google meets on a weekly basis. Other technological applications that have been useful are Quizlet, Kahoot, and FlipGrid. Through this transition we have been maintaining communication with students and parents.
We understand that the transition is not easy for students, therefore we continue to be available to support our students. I am currently working part time from home with Pathstone, completing my field hours at Vineland High School via virtual communications, and spending quality and instructional time with my four year old, Suheily Carrasco.
Although it can be challenging at times, I love what I do. I learned that in this profession it is very important to love what you do and the rest comes with hard work and determination. In May 2020, I will complete my master’s of science of teaching. Although I never imagined that my last year of graduate school would be the one that forced us to practice social distancing to protect us from the spread of COVID-19, I want to remain focused and positive that it will end soon.
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