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Sharroia Armstead '18

Sharroia Armstead ’18 (Photo by Alonzo Gardner ’20)

Sharroia Armstead ’18

BS Childhood/Special Education 1-6

Fourth grade special education teacher in Brooklyn for the New York Department of Education

What led you into the field of education?

I’ve always had a passion for teaching children. As a child, I struggled in school, so I wanted to provide the support that was given to me which led to success in my educational career.

What do you love about your work today?

I love supporting my students by providing them with the tools to succeed. I really enjoy seeing my students have that “aha” moment when they finally understand the concept. Additionally, I love forming relationships with my kids. It is always touching to see my students the following year in the hallways as they scream my name and express how much they miss me.

Why did you choose Saint Rose to major in education?

I chose to major in education at Saint Rose because of the support that students receive from the professors. Most of the education professors form strong relationships with their students and continue to support us throughout the program. Also, the program provided many opportunities to receive experience with working inside of the classroom.

What was your experience like as an education student at Saint Rose?

I had a very positive experience as an education student. The professors were very supportive and engaging. Also, I truly appreciated the small classroom sizes at Saint Rose. By the class sizes being small, students were able to build strong relationships with peers and professors. The education professors at Saint Rose were very helpful and informative. Most of the professors had an open-door policy and students were able to receive 1:1 support. Additionally, the education department was well-organized, and the courses were well aligned which was beneficial for completing the requirements for my NYS teaching license.

How did Saint Rose prepare you for the classroom – what made it such a strong education program?

Throughout the program, we were given the opportunity to apply the instructional practices inside of K-12 classrooms. As I progressed in the program all of my courses aligned with the requirements needed for teacher certification. Additionally, I think the hands-on opportunities were the most significant piece of the program. During the program, I spent a lot of time inside of other teacher classrooms to experience the day-to-day life of a teacher.

What lessons do you still carry with you from Saint Rose today?

One lesson that I still carry from Saint Rose is the importance of community. Through my time at Saint Rose, I leaned on the school community to support me through the program. As a teacher today, I thrive on creating a strong and positive classroom community. When I am stuck or confused about a lesson, I reach out to the members of my school community for support. As a student, I used all of the resources that Saint Rose provided which was essential for my journey.

Is this your first full-time position or have you worked somewhere else?

Originally, I started working as a fourth grade special education teacher in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. I transferred schools after my first year of teaching.

Have you worked with any other Saint Rose graduates?

I would love to, but unfortunately I have not!

Do you keep in touch with your fellow School of Ed alumni or your professors?

I keep in touch with Dr. Ward from the School of Education (Ward is the interim dean of the school). During my time at Saint Rose, she was my college advisor and professor. I truly appreciate the guidance that she provided me as I completed the program.

What keeps you in this field – even with all of the challenges?

Being a teacher has its moments, but I truly enjoy the relationships with my students. I like being part of my students’ journey of life, and I hope that I will be the teacher that they remember. Although the job is challenging, I try to remind myself to strive for progress not perfection. I know that my students are making progress each day, and I have to acknowledge the small improvements.

You’re a young teacher, and a lot of young people aren’t even considering the field anymore because they think it’s too hard. What would you say to them?

I know that this may sound cliché but “teaching is a challenging yet rewarding career.” As of now, the world is focusing on the difficulties that teachers and students are facing as we transition back into the classroom. However, the media is not focusing on the growth students have still been able to accomplish throughout this pandemic. We need more teachers that are passionate about working with our children. Through this pandemic we have seen teachers do the unimaginable just to get our children to learn and stay on track. I think we need more driven teachers inside of our school system.