Student Profile: Emily McBride Finds the Awesome in Awkward

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Emily McBride

Emily McBride, who is working on her single subject teaching credential (well, actually two) in UCSB’s Teacher Education Program, loves the awkward middle school years! The perfect attitude for teaching middle-schoolers. Before coming to the Gevirtz School, Emily studied at Westmont College in Montecito and graduated with a degree in Spanish and a minor in English. She is interested in working with English Language Learners and is passionate about studying ways to improve high school retention rates. #gradschool #TEP #middleschoolers #teachered #ELL

GGSE: What made you decide on GGSE?
McBride: I decided on the Gevirtz Graduate School because the program seemed to have many opportunities to learn and practice how to teach English Language Learners. It seemed that I would have more support as I pursued a double credential in English and Spanish and tried to gain experience teaching ELLs at the Gevirtz Graduate School than at the other school I was considering. Additionally, a meeting with Dr. Ann Lippincott was extremely helpful in highlighting the strengths of the program.

GGSE: So far, what has been a highlight from your fieldwork experience in a classroom?
McBride: A highlight of my fieldwork is a class discussion that took place where 8th grade students passionately defended their method for choosing a good book to read. I smiled and marveled as they held a respectful and lively live debate before my eyes! I love the passion of 8th graders and their willingness to put themselves out there (even if that sometimes means putting their foot in their mouth).

GGSE: What issue(s) are you passionate about in education?
McBride: I’m passionate about high school retention. I want to teach junior high, and I am often intentionally aware of the 10% drop-out rate in high school as I lesson plan. I am passionate about balancing equipping students for a life outside of academia while simultaneously inspiring students to stay in school with the addictive joy of learning something new.

GGSE: Is there a particular person or experience in your educational background that made you want to teach?
McBride: My middle school teacher, Mrs. Loudon, is the reason I want to teach. She taught in a 6-8th grade integrated classroom, and I admired the way she helped us work together. My mother also homeschooled me through elementary school, which was a great model for me to see learning as a way of life.

GGSE: If you had to give an hour lecture on any topic, what would it be?
McBride: Last year, I gave an informal lecture based upon my own writings in my middle school journal. The topic was on the value of the “awkward middle school years” that everyone tries to forget and I made a case for why we should try hard to remember them. I enjoyed that lecture and would give a follow-up hour lecture if I could. Middle school is such a fun(ny) topic to explore!