GMercyU Education Alum Kiersten Gozieba

Meet Kiersten Godzieba

Education, 2016

"I'll think of things Ms. Pierantozzi said in class to help me get through the moments where I'm stuck. It's funny how things come back to you."

I went to Catholic grade school and a Catholic high school so I wanted to go a Catholic college. Gwynedd Mercy University was very close to my house so I was able to commute here for the past four years which made it easy. As soon as I came here I felt a sense of community. I had a shadowing day with a couple of other students who would later become my best friends. Immediately, we had this great connection and I knew I was going to have a great team of support here. I knew it was going to feel like a family.

From the beginning, my classes started out nice and gentle. It started off with exactly what you can handle. The School of Education professors slowly built you up until you were comfortable. Teaching lessons in front of your peers is difficult to do but they were very supportive and positive. The professors are great resources and I still go to them now. It's been like a big family.

I did pre-student teaching and my special education portion of student teaching at Our Lady of Confidence in Willow Grove, Pa. I was unsure of how I felt about teaching special education before going into that experience but it totally changed my mind. It gave me so much confidence as a teacher to see how you are at the helm of the classroom. I was so nervous before I got into it because I thought they were going to just say, "here's your classroom, go teach," but it was an easy process. Each week we added a little more until I was the one teaching. It was really nice introduction into how I would run a classroom.

There are times where I literally just look at the sea of children and think "who put me in charge of them. What do I do?" Then I'll think of things Ms. Pierantozzi said in class to help me get through the moments where I'm stuck. It's funny how things come back to you. I definitely hear my professors circling in my head.

I was also part of the Special Education Club all four years and the president my junior year. That position really helped with developing my leadership skills. That was the first time I was part of the club so I got to see how things worked from that leadership role. It was nice to have that balanced with me being a teacher and how they meshed together.

All of my experiences both in and out of the classroom have shaped me into being a Distinctive Mercy Graduate. To me, that means you take with you the values you learned and find a way to make those work in the career path you have chosen. You find a way to weave those into everything you do and how you spread that message to others.