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Alumna selects New Mexico school for first teaching job

06/24/15

Even before her May graduation, Martha Pratt ’15 of Denver, Colo., had her choice of a number of teaching positions, beginning with two job offers she received as a result of attending an education career fair in Boston. In fact, prospective employers continue to contact her with job offers and requests that she interview with them.

In just a few weeks, she will begin her teaching career as a third grade teacher at Juan de Onate Elementary School in Gallup, N.M. Pratt said she chose this particular opportunity because she liked the ideas of the school’s principal, who interviewed her.

“She said she needed and wanted to have a young and energetic team of new teachers for this coming school year. My interview with her felt relaxed and more like a conversation, so I knew this place was for me,” Pratt said. “I was really willing to go anywhere for a new adventure.”

It’s been Pratt’s long-time dream to teach the third grade.

“I am most looking forward to having my own classroom,” she said. “I have spent four years in other teachers' classrooms where I was allowed to teach a lesson, but none of these classrooms have been all mine where I can set them up how I want. I just can't wait to get there and get started.” 

Pratt will bring with her a rich and diverse background of study at MCLA. In addition to majoring in elementary education, she also majored in interdisciplinary studies and concentrated in math and psychology.

The school district in which she will teach is comprised of 81 percent Native Americans, 11 percent Hispanic and 7 percent Anglo-Americans. At MCLA, Pratt minored in Spanish.

“Hopefully, I will get to use some Spanish when interacting with students and parents, but I think most likely I will have to start learning the Navajo language,” she said.

Originally, Pratt considered joining “Teach for America.”

“I wanted to go and teach where they needed teachers,” Pratt said. “I wanted to be helpful. With my job in Gallup, I really do think I am doing just that since they need so many teachers. The school district is struggling and the school I will be working at was a failing school a few years ago and is on a turn-around program.

“This school does need me as a young teacher who will be willing to try new ideas to help students succeed,” she added.

Next year, she plans to take graduate classes as she works toward obtaining her Masters in Education degree, concentrating either in reading support or English language learner support. At

I will not be attending graduate school this coming year but the year after I plan are starting to take graduate classes towards my masters in education either concentrated in reading support or English Language Learner support.

Pratt said she was prepared for success from her first day on campus through the supportive atmosphere provided by MCLA’s faculty, staff, and also her peers. As an elementary education major, she participated in field experiences and served as a student-teacher.

“I also had a fabulous partner/mentor teacher who gave me great feedback and let me try my ideas and fail or struggle with them because she knew that was the only way I would learn how to adjust my ideas,” Pratt said.

“The class I worked with also was difficult, with 15 second graders in a class. There were so many different individual needs to be met and behaviors to handle. It was a truly great experience since it was such a challenge for me,” Pratt continued. “But, every day, I still wanted to go back. I loved every minute of it, so I knew I really did want to be a teacher.”