Each year, USF has the great honor of recommending our new graduates for their CA Teaching Credential! Today, we have the chance to spotlight one of our recent alum, Andrew Walton. Andrew just completed the Master of Arts in Teaching + Teaching Credential (MAT) program here at the University of San Francisco – Sacramento Campus. In this blog post, Andrew shares some of his experiences, the importance of cohort systems in the program, and his goals now that he has his own classroom.
Tell us about yourself, what degree you earned, and your goals now that you have graduated?
My name is Andrew Walton, and I came to USF to get my Single-Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics as well as a master’s in education. I chose USF because I wanted to learn how to provide the most equitable, fair, and holistic education. USF and I have aligned values and core beliefs and it made it an easy decision on where to attend. During the program, I worked full-time and accepted a position teaching before graduating. My goals going forward are to continue to grow every day as a teacher and continue to learn to connect with my students as best as I can. My goal is to not just teach math to my students but also teach them to be better people that contribute positively to our community.
How has the MAT program prepared you for your career and any particular skills that you may use on a daily basis?
One of the main skills that I learned in the MAT program is how to run a classroom in an inclusive and culturally sensitive manner. I learned how to check any unintentional biases and provide the most inclusive and supportive instruction possible. I also learned a great deal about classroom management strategies, which have proven to be helpful in the grand scheme and in my classroom’s daily operations. The way I provide my instruction and the various strategies used were partially learned and all affirmed during my time in this program. I also learned ways to incorporate social justice strategies into my subject specific lessons.
Is there a professor or classroom experience that had a major impact on you during your time in the program?
Several of my teachers were vital in me learning how to provide the best form of instruction possible. I learned a lot of great strategies from the professors that taught me throughout the program. One experience that I really liked was, during our time student teaching we spent a considerable amount of time discussing with our peers and with Professor Bramham. This experience really gave me a lot of ideas and a lot of confidence in my abilities in the classroom.
What was your favorite memory from your time in the MAT program?
My favorite experience was discussing our actual in-class experiences with peers and teachers. While I learned a lot during the theory portion of the program, being able to discuss our experiences weekly really helped with the stresses of being a new teacher. Getting to hear from other members of the MAT program confirmed that I was not alone in what I was dealing with and the struggles that I was having. That helped give me confidence and a lot of innovative ideas on how to deal with specific difficulties I was facing in the classroom.
What projects or hobbies are you passionate about outside of teaching?
I am passionate about continuing to grow, both in and out of the classroom. This currently is resulting in me being involved in a book club and I have put a lot more effort into learning to improve my ability to cook. I love to cook and have put a lot of emphasis on DIY at home. All this stems from a desire to grow and to learn. A hobby of mine unrelated to growth is golf. I love doing this because it is a chance for me to get outside and hang out with some family and friends. Being around my family and loved ones is a major motivator for me in life.
What is important for students to know and be aware of (networking, practice interviews, internships, etc.) in preparation for their careers post-graduation?
The USF MAT program is an excellent option for those looking to obtain their credential and receive a master’s in addition. One of the great advantages to participating in the USF program is the vast amount of networking that takes place weekly. My experience with student teaching was a positive experience as well, between doing my student teaching and getting a chance to talk about it a couple times a week. My time doing student teaching really made me feel confident in my ability as an educator and made me excited to take on my own classroom. When it came time for me to take over my classroom, I entered ready and enthusiastic with all the tools necessary to succeed.
On behalf of the USF Sacramento Team, we would like to thank Andrew for sharing his story with us. We can’t wait to see where his career takes him and the lives he will change!