Kelsey Garcia

Kelsey Garcia
"The approach that ADSOE takes in its undergraduate program can be described in one word: practical.  Everything I learned throughout my courses I have applied in my classroom…My students have no idea that I'm a first year teacher!"

- Kelsey Garcia, BS in Elementary Education, 2012

Why did you choose education?

Growing up, I always told myself I wanted my career to be in a field that would allow me to make a difference in people's lives and give back to the community.  I never thought about teaching until my high school guidance counselor suggested I consider becoming a math teacher after taking a test in which I scored high in math skills and social skills.  I then began thinking about teaching as a profession, but it was my math teacher in high school that inspired me to become a math teacher myself.  Math is obviously a tough subject to wrap your head around, but this teacher has such a love for math that she was able to instill it in me!

Why did you choose Barry?

I went to a small, private, Christian school, so I always wanted to attend a state university for college.  I told myself I needed an experience completely different from the small, private school feel. However, when I heard about the excellent Adrian Dominican School of Education (ADSOE) at Barry and took a tour of the campus, I felt right at home.  Because Barry is a "smaller" university, I was able to tell right away that my professors would be genuinely invested in my education; I wasn't just going to be another number, and I wasn't going to be overwhelmed by a huge campus with a large student body.  As it turns out, the small, private education is what worked best for me throughout all my years of schooling.  And don't get me wrong, although Barry is considered a "small" school in size compared to the state universities, the name is just as big, if not bigger; especially in the field of education.

How did Barry prepare you?

The approach that ADSOE takes in its undergraduate program can be described in one word: practical.  Everything I learned throughout my courses I have applied in my classroom. All of the field experience/internship requirements truly prepared me for what I was going to experience when I finally got my own classroom.  Barry also introduced me to Breakthrough Miami, a program for middle school students in under-resourced communities that provides summer teaching internships for students in high school and college. 

Because of my experiences through Barry, my interview at Mater Lakes Academy was short and before I knew it, the vice-principal said, "I say we just hire her. I know Barry graduates are excellent teachers."  Although I studied Elementary Education, the administration agreed that because I had pursued a minor in math, I should become certified in middle grades math. The Middle Grades Math (5-9) exam was without a doubt the most difficult certification exam I have ever taken, but I passed!

What are you doing with your education degree?

I am the 7th grade mathematics teacher at Mater Lakes Academy.  The weekend before the first day of school, the administration could not believe that I was not nervous about teaching.  How could I be? Throughout my coursework at Barry I did field experience in an inner-city school, a multicultural public school, a charter school, my internship at a private school, and taught with Breakthrough Miami for two summers.  With the tools I gained through my classes and experiences, I was ready for anything and everything.

My first week was just absolutely wonderful! Because of my faculty and the amazing program, my transition into teaching full-time has been extremely smooth. I thought having large classes would be overwhelming, but I was definitely ready for the challenge. My students have no idea that I'm a first year teacher and ask me questions about teaching as if I have been teaching for years!

I am so proud to be a Barry University ADSOE Graduate!