Katriina DeMoreta - Secondary Science
Katriina DeMoreta could have gone to college anywhere. She was the salutatorian of her 700-member high school class. She received the highest possible score on the Advanced Placement biology test. And she's fluent in a foreign language.
DeMoreta chose Southeastern.
She liked Southeastern's small classes, the way professors prayed with students before class, and the Biblical insights yet common touch of Southeastern's president. DeMoreta, who teaches science at Southwest Middle School in Lakeland, Florida, said Southeastern professors taught her the skills and knowledge to effectively teach biology to middle school students.
Southeastern classes that helped DeMoreta build her professional skills include: teaching principles and competencies, classroom management, microbiology, chemistry, psychological foundations of education, and biology teaching methods. Through her teaching principles and competencies class, DeMoreta learned how to organize lesson plans. Her professor emphasized the need for teachers to enable all students to learn at all times. The professor also taught DeMoreta the importance of developing "with it"-ness, meaning awareness of what students are doing-and will likely do-in class. For example, students might try to pass notes when the teacher's back is turned, she said. DeMoreta's teaching principles and competencies professor urged education majors to move around the room when teaching to keep an eye on students.
DeMoreta's teaching principles professor also taught DeMoreta the importance of developing creative ideas to introduce and teach lessons. For example, to start a lesson about the vast amount of information that the eye can relay, DeMoreta had students pair up and gave one student a detailed etching. The student with the etching had to describe-using only words-what he or she saw in the etching, while the other student, without looking at the etching, had to draw what the other student described. After the pairs compared the new drawings to the original etchings, they could see how drawings produced with the aid of only verbal descriptions lacked elements and details that their eyes would have caught in the originals. Having such an engaging introduction helps DeMoreta make science more relevant, interesting and exciting for her students, she says.
Southeastern science classes in microbiology and chemistry also equipped DeMoreta to teach. DeMoreta has been able to draw from her microbiology class-in using microscopes and performing labs-to design science labs for her classes at Southwest Middle. DeMoreta's chemistry class enabled her to share chemical information, such as the symbols to write when denoting compounds in photosynthesis.
DeMoreta said that education professor Dr. Gordon Miller and Southeastern science professors were her most effective and knowledgeable instructors at Southeastern. Dr. Miller's assignments, such as teaching a 30-minute lesson in front of her classmates and participating in a mock, teaching job interview, gave DeMoreta teaching practice and helped build her confidence in public speaking. Southeastern science professors' knowledge of science helped DeMoreta learn subjects to such a depth that she could teach them to others.
In addition to preparing her professionally, Southeastern helped DeMoreta grow spiritually. Before Southeastern, DeMoreta said she used to struggle with worrying. Through personal prayer, the example set by praying professors, and chapel sermons, DeMoreta grasped that because God is in control, she doesn't need to worry about minor disruptions. This spiritual mindset, says DeMoreta, is useful in a middle school, where many unforeseen circumstances arise.
DeMoreta's faith also dovetails with her study and teaching of science. A sample of pond water, when viewed through a microscope, reveals a tiny, complex world, she says. But even within this complexity, there's a pattern-a divine design.