It’s a common conversation between an education major and, oh, anyone not in the education field. After hearing their friend wants to be a teacher, they generally ask questions such as, “A teacher? But why?” or, “You know they don’t make a lot of money, right?” among dozens of others.
Keuka College’s Julianna Zizzo ’22 has heard the questions—and answered them—many times. In fact, she has a clever answer for those who ask the “why-do-you-want-to-be-a-teacher” question.
“I was always told ‘why don’t you pick a higher-paying job,’or ‘teaching... really?’” says Julianna, a unified childhood education major with a specialization in American Sign Language. “And life always says back: how did all the lawyers, doctors, and other higher-paying professionals get to where they are now? From their teachers. Teachers are creators in disguise and are greatly under appreciated.”
The Massapequa Park resident was able to prepare to be just such a creator during her most recent Field Period® experience in Kim Auty’s pre-k classroom at Grace Episcopal Day School, located in her hometown on Long Island.
“In the morning before the school day began, my responsibilities included working in the infant room for morning care,” says Julianna. “Once the school day began, I moved to the pre-k classroom and completed a care study on a student with a disability. I have always wanted to see the mainstreaming of a child with a disability, and I finally had the privilege to do so. I would aid him in his work, observe his interactions with his peers, and try my best to keep him on track.”
Julianna says the experience enabled her to build on the skills she sharpened during a classroom Field Period® she completed last year.
“One thing that I learned is that no child has a bad day,” she says. “Every person has their ‘bad’ moments in a day, but there are always good moments as well. Children feel defeated when they are told they’re bad or if they are constantly being reprimanded. But when you point out the good moments, they know they are doing well.”
Julianna believes school should be a safe haven, and for some students, school is like a home – just like it was for her.
“My mom would always encourage me to go to school, and she always made school sound like it was the happiest place on earth,” says Julianna. “School has been, and will always be, my safe haven and that motivated me to become a teacher.”
Another reason Julianna wants her own classroom one day is that she enjoys learning something new each day, and she believes the tool to a successful life is an education. So, she wants to pass on that joy of learning to her own students.
But the best part about being a teacher, Julianna believes, is seeing the “ah ha” moments on students’ faces.
“It’s that moment where something impossible clicks in their mind, and they finally come to an understanding,” she says. “My Field Periods® my freshman year and this year have been amazing. I established bonds with so many amazing individuals, and my students made me realize that teaching is my true passion.”
Julianna credits Keuka College with helping to feed her passion.
“Keuka College does a remarkable job with their classes,” says Julianna. “The small class sizes help my peers and I have a more personal relationship with our professors. With Field Period®, job opportunities are already being given to students. After my first Field Period®, I was offered two jobs at the two different sites I went to.”
That’s exactly what Field Period® is meant to do, adds Julianna.
“Field Period® open doors to possible jobs and it helps students get their feet wet in their possible life occupation,” says Julianna. “Some students may realize they want to change their major because a Field Period® experience helped them make that decision. For me, I realized that teaching is what I was meant to do.”