Use your advisers and learn to adapt

NAME: Rachel Holst
HOMETOWN: Eagan, Minnesota
MAJOR: Spanish education

INVOVLEMENT ON CAMPUS: Phi Eta Sigma, Student Manager at the Mensa, and the Wartburg Bowling Team

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I initially visited Wartburg because of the bowling coach, Joe Squires. I knew him through some friends who bowled, and they all really liked him. I came to check out the school, and I fell in love with the campus. Everyone was super friendly, and I loved everything I heard about the education program. I knew immediately that was what I wanted to get into, and I heard that the education program gets students in the classroom right away. I was also excited when I heard about all the study abroad opportunities. Wartburg just felt like the right place to be.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: I came in as an English major, and then I added Spanish education late into my first year or the very beginning of my second year. I’ve always enjoyed English and Spanish, and the only thing that was stopping me from starting with Spanish right away was just a lack of confidence with the language. As I took more classes, the Spanish professors here are absolutely amazing, and they helped me a ton and made me realize just how much I enjoy the language. Knowing that I wanted to teach it just felt like why wouldn’t I want to teach something I enjoy. I think it’s so valuable to learn another language, and I think it’s becoming more important in our society to be able to teach kids. Spanish education felt right to me.  

Rachel Holst

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I’m going to be doing my study abroad in the fall of 2021 since COVID-19 pushed everything back a little bit. I’m going to Costa Rica, and I just officially got accepting into that program which is super exciting. After that, I’ll come back and graduate in December. Since it’s in the middle of the academic year, I’m probably going to end up substitute teaching for the rest of the year.

HOW HAS WARTBURG SET YOU UP FOR SUCCESS IN YOUR FIELD: The biggest thing would be getting in the classroom so early. Education majors take field experience and getting into the classroom in steps. The first class is mainly just observing. In total I’ve had six or seven different schools that I’ve been in. I’ve had many opportunities to talk with professional teachers and ask how they set up their classroom and how they manage things. Wartburg has also taught me how write good lesson plans. Although it’s a little bit more structured than what you’re going to do on a daily basis, it really helps to get the education students thinking about those aspects of how they are going to introduce this lesson, how to conclude a lesson, and how to do assessments. All of the education professors are amazing, and they have taught the practical stuff but also make sure that students are thinking about social-emotional literacy, which is thinking about what your kids might be going through and how to handle that in a school aspect.

WHAT EXPERIENCES DID YOU HAVE WITH FIELD EXPERIENCE AND STUDENT TEACHING: I was nervous when entering a classroom for the first time. It’s very different entering a classroom as an educator versus as a student. What I was most nervous about is being so close in age because I’m secondary education. I wanted to make sure that I was able to come off as professional and get the kids to respect me. I was worried about that initially, but I was more excited than anything when I got my name badge that said Miss Holst. That made me feel so much better and that everything was coming together. All of my cooperating teachers have been absolutely fantastic. I have nothing but good things to say about all of them.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS: One of my favorite classes was Religion 101: Literature of the Old and New Testaments. I went to a public high school, and I consider myself religious. I grew up going to church and getting to dive into the Bible was super fun. I really enjoyed that class because it was with Dr. Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler. I really liked the way he formatted the class. The class was discussion based which was right up my alley.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: I am a very structured person, and I had a very clear-cut plan coming in. Even as I added Spanish on, I adjusted that plan. I had a plan for which classes I was taking at what time and was on track to graduate in May 2021. Then life happened, courses didn’t get offered when I was expecting, and I had to do a lot of arranged studies. It is important to accept that things are not going to go 100% how you would like them to and it’s okay and you’ll figure out a way. Use your advisers and learn to adapt.

WHY IS WARTBURG WORTH IT: I’ve had really good experiences working in the dining hall. All of the professors are awesome, and I love the faculty here. I have not had a single professor that I did not like, and I can say that with complete honesty. The professors and the small classes are the biggest thing that made it worth it and made me feel like I was successful.