Heather Richardson '07
Emphasis in: Education
Why did you choose Alma?
For the longest time my parents encouraged me to check into Alma, but as a local, I was defiant and relatively opposed to living so close. Eventually, the day came when my mom convinced me to check it out--and to appease her, I did. But from the moment I stepped on campus, I felt at home. I've felt that same way ever since--and always will.
What have you been involved in on-campus?
Oh, a little bit here--a little bit there. Alpha Phi Omega, Resident Assistant, Campus Mail Room, Ambassador Tour Guide, Pretty in Plaid, Chapel Band, Softball, Sigma Tau Delta, Writing Center, Relay for Life, Alternative Spring Breaks, a Summer Internship in India, Psi Chi, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and LOVE.
What do you see as strengths of Alma?
When I graduate--I will be leaving some of my greatest friends--my professors. Through my time at Alma, I have traveled with my professors, watched their children, house-sat, shared dinner meetings, drove across the country in their company--and flown across the world with them. I have laughed, cried, bickered, contended and celebrated with my professors. My Alma College experience would have been less enriched, less fulfilling, and less personal without these relationships. Also, the opportunity to travel and experience the pearls that life-beyond-Alma holds has enriched my college education. It is one thing to become immersed in another culture--it is an entirely different experience to grow with those who have the same passion, drive, and thirst for cultural stretching as you do.
How do you feel Alma has prepared you for teaching?
My field placements have been the most beneficial in preparing me to teach. I am currently student teaching and am able to implement all the practice I received in my classes and placements within my own classroom. It also doesn't hurt that the Education Department staff is incredible; each one of my Education professors has touched my life and influenced my teaching ability in a unique and valuable way.
Do you have a favorite experience through the Education Department at Alma?
My internship of teaching in India--and the challenges
it beheld. It was refreshing to put into action all of the
pedagogy techniques I had been fed in my education classes for six
semesters. On the first day, it was remarkable to be introduced
to a class of Indian students, then hear the words, "Ok, now you
teach," followed by a smile and a friendly exit by the teacher,
out of her own classroom. It was at that moment when I recalled
the words that had been spoken by Principal Joseph of the Mathen
Mapilai Memorial School--just that morning. "How did I get my
experience? Did I purchase it at the market? No. One
day, someone put me in charge when I had no idea what to do.
That's how I got my experience." His words reverberated in my
head until I built up a bundle of courage and acted. I
immediately took over, asking what students had been learning, what
they knew, and where their curriculum was headed. 20
ninth grade Indian students in the village of Ayroor learned
how to write a Haiku that day.