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Dear ED 201 Alverno Student,

It is my honor to write you this letter regarding my learning experiences with the
Education program throughout my years at Alverno College. First and foremost, I want to say
that you have made a great choice to be in the ED 201 class. This means that your decision to
become a future teacher and to be an Alverno education student is a wonderful choice and you
are in the right spot. From my own experiences, I understand that your feelings might be mixed
right now: you might be very nervous, even worried and excited at the same time, at this
moment. You might be worried about how to accomplish the journey of your Education program
since becoming an educator is challenging in many aspects because it requires a lot of effort,
sacrifice, and even pain sometimes. However, you might be excited to be among teacher
candidates in this world of education because being an educator of future generations is an
honorable and invaluable profession for the children you will teach and for the world we live in.
Regardless of your worries or excitement, as well as doubts or easiness, I believe that you will
certainly be able to achieve whatever you desire, as long as you responsibly devote your passion,
creativity, and effort to your work. I also hope that nothing will take your dream of becoming a
teacher away from you.
From my own experiences, I admit that I used to feel mixed emotions: when I entered
Alverno College, I was already experiencing feelings of anxiety and excitement. My opposing
feelings might have been even much stronger than yours now because a new world of education
and hope were open to me; however, several challenges and obstacles were ready to meet me on
my way. Since I had lived all my life in northern Vietnam before I came to the U.S., obstacles
like an English handicap, a conflict of cultures, and a lack of background knowledge
accompanied me. Although I have desired to become a teacher for a long time, the decision to
choose an Education major was a big challenge since it required a lot of qualities that I did not
have, such as basic background knowledge of childhood education, personal confidence, or any
understanding of American learning cultures. Fortunately, I have treasured two things along the
way that have motivated me to make this decision and encouraged me to be persistent with my
pursuit of education: my passion and love for being an educator of future generations as well as
my responsibility to myself as an Alverno student and a religious sister.
I attended the college for almost two years before I took ED 201, which you are taking
now, yet I was still unfamiliar with the learning styles of college students. Furthermore, being in
the education world was completely brand-new to me; it was where I started learning the
meaning of the Alverno Education Abilities and the Wisconsin Teaching Standards. Talking about
unfamiliar things, I clearly remember one thing that happened to me in the two first days of my
ED 201 class, as though it just occurred yesterday. When I first learned the word "disposition," I
understood nothing. Although my instructor explained it thoroughly: he repeated it often in his
teaching and gave a lot of examples, I still could not capture its meaning. I was wondering why
my instructor spent so much time emphasizing it. Later on, I gradually became acquainted with
several vocabularies specifically pertaining to education; I learned new words and terms among
the world of education.
Throughout my educational journey, I have learned so many important things that have
contributed to my success and rich experiences, especially related to the art of teaching. I have
learned two essential focuses that should be like breath to an educator: the Alverno Education
Abilities and the Wisconsin Teaching Standards as well as self-assessment. The central focus of
education here is twofold: the Alverno Education Abilities, which include conceptualization,
diagnosis, coordination, communication, and integrative interaction and the Wisconsin Teaching
Standards. Whenever I teach s lesson to students, my first consideration is who the learners are
and what levels they are at; and then I think of the standards that students need to meet and the
abilities that I should address. I am so impressed by the focus of the Alverno abilities because
they not only help me accomplish my studying goals, but they also contribute to my success in
many other areas.
Right at the beginning of ED 201, you will learn these abilities and standards and then
deepen your understanding as you apply them to your learning and teaching, especially creating
lessons throughout the path of your studying. If you are not yet familiar with these terms, do not
worry about that right now; take a deep breath. They will become natural to you very soon! I
believe that the Alverno instructors and staff embrace the passion and responsibilities to help you
gain an understanding of these standards and abilities so that you will be able to carry them with
you all the way through your education, as long as you are willing to work hard and take
responsibility for your learning. The Alverno instructors and staff are always there to assist when
you need their help and guidance. I am confident to say that from my own experience: I came
from almost no background knowledge, but thanks to the Alverno instructors, staff, and friends
as well as my own efforts, I now look forward to becoming a teacher in the near future.
Another worthwhile piece of advice I would like to share with you is the importance of
reflection. Be assured that it is impossible not to include reflection in an Education students life;
in other words, self-assessment should become a major, even natural, part of an Alverno
Education student. You should keep in your mind that self-assessment will accompany you
throughout your journey of becoming a teacher and in the years to come. The truth is that self-
assessment is not an enjoyable or pleasing thing to do; sometimes we even want to escape from it
because, as you know, it requires us to move out of our comfort zone; it even brings us pain
sometimes. Regardless of what it is and how dissatisfying it may be, you need to embrace it and
take reflection seriously in your daily life, especially in your learning and teaching performances.
Please understand that reflection plays a vital role in contributing to your success. When you get
into your field practice, you will definitely attain experiences about how important and valuable
reflection is. If, for any reason you might fail to gain what you expected or you might make
mistakes at some point, it does not matter as long as you seriously reflect on it, stand up from
your failures and learn from them.
Thinking of this, I remember one of my experiences of failing. When I taught an
observed lesson to a group of K4 children, I was very well prepared and expected that the
children would learn well and enjoy the lesson. Unfortunately, I completely failed! The children
got distracted with the materials I brought them instead of learning. With no experience working
with children, I could not monitor their behavior, except to talk about what I had prepared in the
lesson plan to use up the allotted time. After finishing the lesson, I thought that my instructor
might not have any positive thing to tell me because it did not meet the criteria. Luckily enough,
with the natural positive and encouraging attitude of an educator, my instructor still found some
positive things to comment on and gave me encouraging feedback, even though I was only at the
emerging level. [You can see my instructor's feedback on Lesson 2: Math under the tab of ED
338 in my portfolio]. After the lesson, I did serious reflection on what and why the lesson
happened like it did and spent time thinking about my instructor's feedback. I accepted
everything that happened and learned an invaluable lesson for my following lessons. One of the
lessons I drew from that class was that the fancy materials I brought had easily distracted the
children. At the same time, I was not able to verbally monitor their behavior because of my
limited English language at the time. Learning from this, I utilized the SMART Board to teach
the lessons that followed so that children could still actively engage without being distracted. As
a result, my lessons were greatly improved and I made good progress throughout the semester.
[You can see my progress shown in ED 338 by clicking on the ED 338 tab and taking a quick
look at my instructor's feedback from Lesson 2, Lesson 5, and the unit plan.] For me, the
beginning of each semester always seemed unfamiliar to me, but I made a great progress by the
end of the semester.
In fact, I have learned so many important lessons that would like to share with you;
however, this letter is already long. I understand that it is not the right time to cram so many
ideas into your mind now. Moreover, I believe that your Alverno instructors will accompany and
help you reach your goals and become successful. I also know that there are so many important
things we need to learn, but always remember the central focus of Alverno Education are the
Wisconsin Teaching Standards and the Alverno Education Abilities. I also hope that you believe
in yourself and are willing to work hard throughout your journey of studying at Alverno.
I would like to conclude my letter with these words: I am able to reach my goal
Definitely you can too! Trust in your ability to succeed! My best wishes for you!

Tuyet Nguyen