Teachers of Tomorrow

They’re still students themselves, but the seniors on these pages have already acquired solid classroom experience, as student teachers, as teaching assistants in Smith’s Urban Education Initiative, as camp counselors and tutors. Their experiences are feeding a passion for education that seems to run in their veins. “I dream my teaching every night,” says Ania White ’11. Another student teacher, bubbling over from a lesson in which she created a circulation system using hula hoops and tape, could hardly contain her enthusiasm. “My teacher said it was a rock-star lesson!” said Rachel Wells ’11. “I’m totally psyched about education.”

Samantha Gonnelli ’11Samantha Gonnelli

Major: American studies

House: Friedman apartments

Hometown: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey

Experience so far: Teaching literature classes as a student teacher, Northampton High School; teaching in Smith’s Project Coach, Urban Education Initiative, and Summer Science and Engineering Program

“For me, teaching is the most effective way to bridge my love of literature and my enthusiasm to contribute to the lives of young people. As a teacher, I will be in a position where I can help teenagers refine and improve their reading and writing skills. Students need teachers who will challenge and support them, and I want to do that and do whatever I can to help close the achievement gap and inspire high school students to go on to college. For me, teaching is one of the most rewarding lines of work because it is challenging and typically involves a good deal of autonomy. Working with kids and witnessing their progress over time is also fun and exciting.”

Grace Goodrich ’11 Grace Goodrich

Major: Education and child study

House: Chapin

Hometown: Glastonbury, Connecticut

Experience so far: Student teaching sixth grade at the Campus School; teaching high school with Urban Education Initiative

“I would like to create a classroom environment that welcomes open discussion and values communication—an environment in which my students will grow to respect the world, their peers, and themselves. I make a conscious effort to listen to each child’s strength—what is special about them and how can their individuality better our community? My experiences as a two-time alumna of Smith’s Urban Education Initiative in both New York City and Chicago opened my eyes to the reality of our country’s achievement gap and taught me to be assertive and realistic in the classroom. So, what’s my master plan? At this point, to have my own classroom next year and to embark on what I anticipate being a lifelong commitment to working with youth in a teaching capacity and striving for educational equality.”

Shakwana Etienne ’11Shakwana Etienne ’11

Major: French and education and child study

House: Chase

Hometown: West Orange, New Jersey; originally, Haiti

Experience so far: Tutoring at the Campus School; teaching in Boston as part of Smith’s Urban Education Initiative; currently student teaching French at Easthampton High School

“There is nothing more stimulating, challenging, or rewarding than being a teacher. Nothing could be better than knowing that your work will have a direct impact on the future of the country. My parents and some of my teachers from high school have been great influences in my choice to become a teacher. Both of my parents were professors when we lived in Haiti, and I’ve had some amazing teachers who made my high school experience really enjoyable and had a positive impact on my personal growth. I hope to have the same effect on my own students. Nothing would be more satisfying than to have former students come back and tell me that I’ve helped them learn something, whether it’s a school lesson or a life lesson.”

Rachel Wells ’11Rachel Wells

Major: Education and child study

House: Lawrence; junior year in Denmark

Hometown: suburban Philadelphia

Experience so far: Teaching first grade in New York City with Smith’s Urban Education Initiative; teaching fourth grade as a student teacher at the Campus School

“I have always been drawn to teaching. Even as a young child, I would play school with my sister for hours on end. I chose teaching as a profession because I want to see that spark in a child’s eye when he or she finally understands how division works. It’s those little moments of excitement and wonder that drive me forward every day. I love to learn new things, and I believe that I bring a ‘learning-is-fun’ attitude to my students as well. I believe that learning can take place anywhere, whether it be in line waiting for recess or sitting in math class. With budget cutbacks and No Child Left Behind standards demanding more accountability from teachers, I worry that the art of teaching is being lost. It is one of my most profound fears.”

Phoebe Camilletti ’11Phoebe Camilletti

Major: English language and literature

House: Tyler

Hometown: Foothill Ranch, California

Experience so far: Smith’s Urban Education Initiative; intern, Shakespeare in Springfield; teaching fencing to Campus School students

“I had my teaching epiphany in eighth grade, when I had an absolutely phenomenal English teacher. I had always loved reading and writing, but the enthusiasm and sense of humor—not to mention an entirely fresh perspective—he brought to the class were perfect. In his class, I was shown that a good teacher can engender really vast confidence in oneself. His passion and goodwill were absolutely infectious, and it is with similar zeal that I intend to teach. I want to teach both English and theater in a high school setting. Both subjects have such gigantic potential to make students competent, literate individuals. I will show my students, by way of their own success, that they have the ability to succeed in life in whatever way they choose to define their success, should they take advantage of that ability.”

Ania White ’11Ania White

Major: Education and child study

House: Chase; junior year in Denmark

Hometown: Norwich, Vermont

Experience so far: Sixth-grade math teacher as part of Smith’s Urban Education Initiative; camp counselor

“Throughout my whole life, many teachers and educators inspired me to continue what they taught me—the value of education and work with children. I love to see the curiosity and discovery that children experience as they grow, and I thrive on helping them in their quests for learning and knowledge. I believe that students benefit from a supportive social learning environment. I hope to become a teacher who inspires and cares for her students, and helps them grow into their greatest potential as learners and members of society.”