Alexandra Del Vecchio ‘21, childhood education/special education (Grades 1-6 and SpEd 1-6 Cert) and accelerated (4+1) literacy MSEd, is a teacher through and through. While at Saint Rose, Del Vecchio understood what she accomplished in the classroom would reflect well on her future career and students. She aimed to get the most out of her experience, surrounding herself with like-minded friends with a strong work ethic and desire to better themselves while in college. And even though the pandemic exposed some of the challenges of being a teacher in the 21st century, as she embarks on her professional career, Del Vecchio aspires to overcome those challenges by being a “trustworthy, kind, and hardworking” teacher. She looks to Professor Heta-Maria Miller, associate professor of educational psychology, as a shining example of the educator she hopes to be someday.
Del Vecchio will graduate summa cum laude and continue her education at Saint Rose in our literacy master’s degree program. We recently caught up with Del Vecchio to learn more about her experience at the College and future plans. Here’s what she had to say:
Why did you choose this program? I chose this program for multiple reasons. The first reason is that I wanted to have a strong foundation in general and special education to enhance my ability to work with diverse populations of students. In addition, I love English language arts and literacy and believe that these aspects can be incorporated into any content area to enhance student learning and achievement.
What is the best part of your student teaching experience? The best part of my student teaching experience is realizing that I am capable of being a successful teacher. The students are great because, when you’re doing something right, they’ll let you know, and if and when you do something wrong, you’ll definitely know about it. My cooperating teacher and supervisor are also a joy to work with, which made the entire process a lot easier and less stressful.
List any clubs/organizations you joined while at Saint Rose: At Saint Rose, I participated in Friday Knights as a group leader and I absolutely loved it. Working with students, and collaborating with such a great group of people, made the experience fun for everyone.
What is your favorite memory of Saint Rose? My favorite memory at Saint Rose would have to be my second day on campus. I walked up three flights of stairs in the Lally School of Education to Room 304. I sat at the back table and met two girls who would become my very best friends. We were asked to do an ice breaker activity, and we were surprised to learn that we were all transfer students, we all had the same major, we were all in the exact same concentration, and we had multiple other classes together. Is that not the best way to kick off your second day as a transfer student? Each semester since then we’ve had a class together in Room 304, and the pandemic is the only factor preventing us from being in that room again.
What have you learned through the pandemic? Through the pandemic, I have learned that teaching is a challenging profession and it always will be. Teachers have been put under a spotlight throughout the pandemic, especially with the news highlighting some really great things and some not-so-great things teachers have done. Educators make a difference in students’ lives, and teaching content while also providing social and emotional support to students is essential, but not an easy task.
What was the best class you took at Saint Rose, and why? The best class I took at Saint Rose would have to be Educational Psychology/Instructional Technology with Professor Heta-Maria Miller, associate professor of educational psychology. Professor Miller was fantastic, and she made learning both fun and educational. I learned many techniques for using technology in the classroom (way before the pandemic was even a thing) and about the psychology behind rewards and assessments. The classroom culture brought me joy each and every day, and I felt very comfortable in the learning environment.
What are your future plans? My future plans are to finish my studies in the Advanced Literacy Program at The College of Saint Rose. After I obtain my master’s degree and pass my certification exams, I would like to become a full-time teacher in upper elementary, preferably in a rural or suburban school district.
Why did you choose to continue your education at Saint Rose? I was advised that Saint Rose was “the teaching school,” so I had always imagined myself attending this school. When I visited campus and felt the sense of community, I knew this was the school for me. The class sizes were small, the people were kind, and the program was perfect for me. I have always loved reading and writing, so continuing my education with a concentration in English, and eventually transitioning to the literacy program for my master’s degree, was where I needed to be.
Any future career prospects? I am excited to continue my professional development, working with a variety of colleagues. I enjoy learning more about unique teaching styles, and I hope to be a teacher who is remembered for being kind, trustworthy, and hard-working.
What did Saint Rose teach you? Saint Rose taught me to be more inclusive of all individuals in the classroom. My professors and colleagues are a diverse group of individuals, and I admire how everyone works together inside and outside of the classroom. I also learned that it is important to value my education and to advocate for myself by working hard and pushing myself to be the best learner I can be.
Who was your favorite professor, and why? All of my professors were wonderful, but one that stood out to me the most was Professor Miller. Professor Miller was the type of teacher that I aspire to be in the future. She was very approachable, and I felt confident and comfortable discussing any matter with her, whether it was directly related to class or not. She inspired me to better my writing and to put my best foot forward to learn as much as I could in her class.
Advice for incoming students: My advice for incoming students is to stay on top of their work. It is also important to make friends who have the same work ethic as you do and will help you stay on top of your work. Join clubs, make friends, and take classes that interest you! Those things will help keep you motivated!
Look for more stories on our Class of 2021 and Class of 2020 graduates in our upcoming Saint Rose Magazine!