A Love for Students: May 2021 Graduate Valerie Kozlowski

May 11, 2021

Valerie Kozlowski, Elementary Education ‘21 came to PNW fresh out of high school with the end goal of becoming a teacher. Unsure of how to get there she quickly found support from many professors in the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences. Kozlowski points to Diana Underwood, Ph.D. as key to her understanding of math instruction, challenging her to come up with multiple teaching methods. Professors Geoff Schultz and Josh Polman opened her eyes to differentiated instruction for struggling students but also for students who need different learning methods.

She also credits professor Nicole Baker for helping her to find a work, school life balance and helping her to become the best teacher for her students. Kozlowski stated, “I would like to personally thank these professors for all that they have done and I hope I can inspire my future students the way these professors inspired me.”

In her quest to become a teacher, Kozlowski gained first-hand student teaching experience at Kolling Elementary in St. John, Indiana. She worked with students in K-2 special education and in third grade high ability. She loved the ability to work with two sets of students and build individualized relationships. Of her teaching experience she stated, “It was both expected, yet inspiring to see these students think outside the box and discover new ways of thinking when presented with a challenge.”

After graduation Kozlowski plans to apply for her teaching license with the goal of teaching in a public K-5 classroom. She hopes to eventually purse a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.