Local Teacher uses CWI Education to Connect with Students

Published: November 2, 2015

Rachel Zeleny, a graduate of the College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Education departments is one of the Treasure Valley’s newest K-12 educators. After obtaining her associate degree in Elementary Education from CWI, she transferred to Boise State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

In December of 2014 she graduated Boise State and received her teaching certification in February 2015, along with an endorsement in Literacy for reading and writing. Zeleny was hired as a music teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Nampa, just six months after receiving her bachelor’s degree. She is certified to teach grades K-8, and also certified to teach both Music and Physical Education.

When reflecting upon her time at CWI, Rachel noted her EDUC 290 Education Exit seminar class as the most helpful course she completed. This class helped her develop a portfolio, which later she would show school administrators to provide them with detailed information about what she has experienced and studied. Zeleny also remembered enjoying PHYE 210, Physical Education for Elementary Educators.

To this day she remembers how her instructor modeled how teaching children to make connections instead of memorizing everything separately was essential. She learned teachers should rather teach connections on how each subject overlaps and how to see the connections together, instead of being taught separately. He explained that children learn better and understand more information using this method.

Once graduated from Boise State it took her about six months (late June) to get a teaching job. She went to four interviews, then was offered two positions. One job was a part-time kindergarten teacher, but she took the full-time Music teacher position.

During the six months of waiting for a job she was offered a job at Centennial Elementary in Nampa to teach an extended-year program for reading for K-3. At the same time she was a volunteer for lunch-club. This volunteer work was extremely valuable, providing a long lasting connection with the principal and ultimately assisting her in gaining full-time teaching employment.

For more information on the College of Western Idaho’s education program, please email assistant professor Carol Billing at carolbilling@cwi.edu. Mrs. Billing also advises the CWI Future Educator’s club and is president-elect of the National Association of Community College Teachers of Education Programs (NACCTEP).

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