Kyle Estrada has simple advice for students considering furthering their education. “I think you should find something that your passionate about. That makes everything so much more rewarding.”
“For me,” he says “That’s teaching and working with kids.”
As a psychology major at Vassar college, Kyle said that teaching wasn’t originally on his radar. “I’ve always really enjoyed working with kids, but teaching was never at the forefront of my mind in terms of career path.”
But after meeting Nell O’Malley, the Director of Licensure here at the College of Education, Kyle began to consider Oregon State’s Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program. “Spring of my senior year, I happened to run into Nell, who works at the education department here, and she told me about the M.A.T. program.”
“It kind of jumped up at me,” he says.
Now, the M.A.T. program is helping Kyle follow his passion for teaching. Kyle drove roughly 3,000 miles from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Corvallis to join the new cohort of M.A.T. students that will begin their work this upcoming fall.
The Master of Arts in Teaching program is a clinically-based program that immerses students in the classroom. These masters’ students spend two years fully integrated in the classroom, gaining valuable hands-on knowledge of elementary school teaching in the Beaverton School District.
Nell O’Malley herself is an instructor in the M.A.T. program. “It’s very near and dear to my heart,” she says.
“I think it’s the future of teacher preparation. We just graduated our first cohort, and they are some of the strongest student teachers I have ever seen. Two years in the classroom is just more powerful than one. A lot of great people and good heart in that program.”
Kyle says that it’s the program’s clinical focus and dedication to helping underprivileged students in the Beaverton School District that drew him to Oregon State.
He hopes that his past experience with psychology will help him excel in the classroom. “It’s a great background knowledge of the things kids could be going through and why they’re acting in certain ways. Otherwise it’s hard to rationalize why somebody would be destructive in the classroom or why somebody would not want to participate.” Kyle says that being the oldest of four brothers has also helped prepare him to teach.
Kyle says that teaching is an underappreciated profession. “None of us would be here today without our teachers,” he says. “It’s an incredibly important profession and we should do everything we can to help teachers be as qualified as possible.”
“They’re the people educating all the future leaders. It’s essential that we make teaching accessible and we make sure we are able to educate our teachers in the best way possible.”