Investing in the future: Math teacher grateful for relationships with faculty

Pulling from various experiences gained throughout her college career, Dawn Lauer enjoys teaching math to seventh and eighth grade students at Woodside Middle School in Fort Wayne, Ind. She earned her bachelor’s degree in math education from Huntington University in 2006.

Along with her typical classes, Dawn works closely with a team of four other teachers and together, they co-teach a class to all eighth grade students, integrating math, science, social studies and language arts.

Before becoming a student at Huntington, Dawn was struck by the aesthetics of the university’s campus. “I loved the small class atmosphere and the personal contact I saw between professors and students,” she said. “I also loved the campus. The beauty of it overwhelmed me.”

Dawn said that her time at Huntington University prepared her for the tasks she faced at Woodside. “Huntington prepared me by first educating me to obtain a teaching degree,” she said. “I also had professors who showed me what it was like to teach, have faith and how to live them out together.”

Taking advantage of the university’s small size, Dawn interacted with her professors regularly one-on-one, giving her insight into both classroom and life experiences. “My professors had an open-door policy and wanted to help each student,” she said. “They knew my name, and they were people I could converse with outside of the classroom, too. These professors were willing to work with me and listen to my concerns.”

Reflecting on her educational experience, Dawn recognizes that she was well prepared for her career. Through her student teaching experiences, she worked with others and learned how to collaborate, a skill she uses on a daily basis. She also expanded her knowledge on what to look for in a school’s teaching environment as a means of evaluating potential places of employment.

Dawn valued her teaching experience as well as professional development opportunities such as job fairs and mock interviews. She described the mock interview experience as “nerve-racking yet extremely helpful” preparation for an actual interview. “I truly believe all the interview preparation at Huntington played a large role in my job offer,” she said. “I believe I was ahead of many others in experience with interviewing.”

In addition to preparing Dawn for her career, Huntington also laid a foundation for further education. While teaching full-time, she pursued her Master of Education degree.

Not only was Dawn active in the classroom, she participated in extracurricular activities during her time at Huntington. She was a member of the tennis team and a volunteer with Campus Life.

“Tennis was a place I went when the day was long and tiring,” Dawn said. “It was a break from the routine of classes and homework. It gave me something else to focus on and strive for. I believe combining a sport with college made my experience so much richer.”

Being a part of Campus Life and involved with the other student leaders allowed Dawn to connect with students outside of the classroom. “This helped me see what type of students I would encounter once I earned my teaching degree and went in to the classroom,” she said.

Huntington’s holistic approach to education also gave Dawn opportunities to grow spiritually. She cited Ekklesia, a student-led weekly worship service, as one of those influential activities. However, one specific service stood out as a hallmark of her spiritual experience at the university.

“On my first night of classes at Huntington, we had a worship time as a campus outside,” she said. “This was the first time I had seen so many people my age praising and thanking God. I’d had a rough day then, and when we broke out into small groups, people prayed for me. That experience was invaluable and I will never forget it.”

To those planning to enter college, Dawn highly recommends Huntington University. “You cannot make a wrong choice with Huntington,” she said. “There is so much to get involved in and so many people to get to know. The physical campus, atmosphere, professors, students, sports, clubs and volunteer opportunities are endless. I would not be the person I am right now without the influence of Huntington.”

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