Elementary Education Alumni

imgAlexa Ratowski - 2020

Who or what at Trine significantly influenced your career path? 2 of my elementary teachers (Mrs. Winter and Mrs. Yanke) influenced my decision to become a teacher.  Dr. Kline specifically at Trine influenced my career path to earn dual degrees with special education and it was the best decision ever! He guided and mentored me every step of the way and is someone whom I look up to for advice.

Any advice for current students pursuing their degrees? Always follow your heart and don't be afraid to try something new. Take chances and be a risk-taker ... it may change your life entirely!

Briefly describe your current position and how you reached it. Currently, I am a Resource Room Special Education Teacher in Bronson, MI working under the Branch Intermediate School District. I have been here since graduating from Trine in May 2020. My hope is to soon work in an administration position as I have my masters degree in Administration as well. 

What's a typical day like in your role? In my role as a special education teacher, no two days are ever the same!  There is consistency and routines for the groups I see but student needs change so I have to be flexible and willing to help at any moment with whatever the situation may be.

Why did you decide to attend Trine? What drew you to Trine and your chosen major? I felt so comfortable after meeting with Dr. Kline (former Dean) and what the program had to offer. I knew I would be heard here at Trine and not just a number. I was particularly intrigued by earning 2 degrees in the time it would take me to earn 1 from the previous school that I transferred from. I always knew that I wanted to go into education as a little girl.

How did you feel Trine did in preparing you for your position? Excellent! Being able to be in a classroom each semester was huge and so beneficial. Each class we take has an impact in some way to what occurs in the classrooms in reality.

imgBranden Turner - 2019

Hello, my name is Branden Turner and I am a 2019 graduate of Trine's FSOE.  I am currently a 4th grade teacher at Napoleon Elementary School in Napoleon, Ohio.  This is my fifth year teaching in this district.  In my 5 years, I've taught ELA/Social Studies for 3 years, Math/Science for 1 year, and now teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom.  I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to inspire, educate, and shape the next generation of life-long learners. 

A typical day for me at work begins with arriving around 7:30 (I'm not the earliest bird), sipping on my coffee, and preparing my morning message for my students to arrive at 8.  I teach a self-contained class, so I teach all subjects to them throughout the day.  I receive one 40-minute prep period for the day.  I teach reading/ELA, social studies, and science in the morning and math in the afternoon.  In the afternoon, we also have an intervention period called "PAWS." During this period, I work with small group students on skills they may be struggling with, while other students work on expanding their skills.  After school, I am often very busy as well.  I coach both high school girls' golf and high school boys' basketball.  These seasons run from August to March.  

I chose Trine University because of its small-school feel, which fosters a sense of community and allows for personalized attention from professors, creating an environment where I can thrive academically and personally. The university's commitment to providing individualized support and opportunities for hands-on learning prepared me for teaching in the real world.  

My advice to future graduates is to believe in yourself, and trust that you have the tools to be a great educator.  Set the bar for your students high, hold them accountable, and be someone they can trust to come to.