To the Class of 2013

Each year, the faculty of the middle-secondary program is given the charge to name one outstanding student who we feel embodies the vision and core values of our college as well as the goals of our middle-secondary program. Each year, that task of selecting a single graduate seems impossible. It seems impossible when a compelling case could be made for each one of our graduates. Truly, the class of 2013 poses an additional challenge for me, personally. As a new tenure-track faculty member in the fall of 2009, the freshmen class became my first group of advisees. So on that August day four years ago under the College of Education tent when I promised you parents, that  we would do everything we could to take care of the important person you were leaving on campus, I think I was just as scared and nervous as any new  student or parent there on the mall. But, together over the last four years, we have certainly learned a lot. We’ve figured out how to study abroad in Greece, Spain, Russia, and Australia. And how to double major. We’ve figured out all the paperwork necessary for making Shakespeare plays in London count for EN 363, and all the possible variances for Professor Bigelow’s classes to count toward geography course requirements. We figured out electronic portfolios and how to attend class during March madness. We’ve figured out which graduate school to pursue, and we’ve even figured out wedding planning from time to time. But most importantly, we’ve come a little closer to figuring who we are and what our purpose in the world will be.  And we’ve figured out that to be good educators we must care deeply about our work, about those we teach and about one another.

In a time when the conversation about school accountability seems to place growth models and outcome measures on opposite ends of a continuum, this outstanding student is proof that when teaching and learning are deeply rooted in our caring for students, the growth we experience creates outcomes that are impossible to quantify— Please allow me to share how this year’s Outstanding Middle Secondary Student Teacher is seen by her students. The following is a letter written by a student from our award winner’s high school placement:

Dear Miss Goss,

I have truly enjoyed your time with us at Pike High School.  You have a gift; you made Hamlet easy and fun to read!  I loved coming to English class because I knew that something different was in store for us each day. We never did the same thing and you were always curious to know what we liked and what we didn’t and you planned your teaching style around what worked for us. I appreciate that so much!

I thank you again for the small, yet meaningful notes you gave me that let me and my parents know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing while at school….because you and I both know how senior year can be. You never once got upset, raised your voice, or had a bad attitude about anything and that shows that you honestly love teaching.  I have never once in my 12 years of school, enjoyed having a student teacher as much as I have enjoyed you being here. I wish you the best of luck and I know that you will be an excellent teacher and role model.

Allie, so do we. That is why Miss Bridgit Goss is this year’s Outstanding Middle Secondary Student Teacher.

Since 2013, Ms. Goss has been teaching high school English. She is on the cusp of completing her Master’s in Effective Teaching and Leadership from Butler in May 2017. She co-developed a project-based curriculum for a summer enrichment program, was an invited presenter at the National Horizon’s Conference in Atlanta in the spring of 2016, co-taught her first university course in the fall of 2016. She is recognized as a leader in her department and will be teaching a student research course beginning next year.

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