Meet the Faculty: Sarah Elliott, Adjunct Professor for STEAM
Wrapping up our week of faculty Q&As, we’re excited to introduce you to Sarah Elliott, EdD. With a passion for STEAM and a love for both undergraduate and graduate teaching, Sarah is an adjunct faculty member you’d virtually meet in Concordia’s MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: STEAM program. Read on!
What led to your calling and vocation as a teacher of teachers?
My earliest memory of school came as a three-year-old on my brother’s first day of Kindergarten. I so badly wanted to attend with him, screaming, “Me go! Me old enough!” What I didn’t realize then but appreciate now, is that I have always loved school, learning, and my teachers! I have been so blessed to have been educated by some amazing mentors, and so accepting my calling as a teacher was a natural progression from that zealous child until now! Because of the impact those amazing teachers have had on my life, I want to be that person in the lives of others. Whether it is my students in my 5th and 6th grade classroom, or my graduate students through Concordia’s program, I want to extend that impact forward.
What courses do you teach at Concordia, and what kind of student thrives in your courses?
I primarily teach in the MEd in Curriculum & Instruction STEAM concentration (course 3, EDCI 563: From Theory to Practice: Developing a STEAM-Enhanced Curriculum), but I have also taught undergraduate courses as well (most recently EDU/CED 395: Teaching the Faith).
The type of student, in general, who thrives in an online setting is one who is organized and able to set aside time each day to attend their online class at their convenience—a student who is a risk-taker and willing to be vulnerable (it is easier, in a face-to-face class, to avoid being part of the dialogue, but that isn’t an option in an online setting, and our classes are better for it!).
In my particular courses, students who need encouragement and assurance thrive as well, as my tendency is very much as a “words of affirmation” person. I want to validate them, provide constructive feedback, and equip them with the skills necessary to have a lasting impact on those in their own setting (whether students, co-workers, etc.).
What do you love about working with Concordia?
I love the sense of family and community, which stems from Concordia’s values. As a graduate of Concordia’s undergraduate education program myself, I have the privilege of working alongside several instructors who were my own mentors, as well as working collaboratively with other educators who care about our students and their professional growth as much as I do. It is very much “home” to be part of the Concordia team!
Any advice for prospective students—for making the most of their experience, or for why they should consider applying?
For any student considering Concordia’s program, consider your professional development goals and who you want to impact through your growth—this might just be personal, or you may have a class of students who inspire you to grow, or your family, or something/someone else. Know your “why”! Then reach out to an enrollment specialist who can share more about our program and how we can help you meet those goals.
In our program, you can expect to interact with veteran teachers and enthusiastic colleagues who will walk beside you in your graduate journey (we have either been there ourselves as your professors, or, in the case of your peers, they are right there in the trenches with you, balancing work, grad school, and family life). We will challenge you and press you, but we will also encourage you and cheer you on!
Favorite book about teaching that every educator should read?
Oooh… there are so many! As I mentioned, I love learning, so I am always looking for new resources for my own growth. Every teacher should read The First Days of School (Wong & Wong, 1998) and Teach Like a Pirate (Burgess, 2012). There are actually two books on my Christmas break reading list that came highly recommended to me, which are also worth mentioning: UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Borba, 2016) and The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way (Ripley, 2013).
What’s your favorite quote?
Two of my favorite education-related quotes are:
“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” -George Bernard Shaw
“Don’t struggle to be a better teacher than everybody else. Simply be a better teacher than you ever thought you could be.” -Robert John Meehan
Thank you, Sarah!