posted January 21, 2016- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
“I think that at Buffalo State I was able to truly experience and explore so much of myself as a person.”
Alexandra Baule started her collegiate career as a Psychology major. Although she began to dread some of the practices in the field, she continued her studies at Buffalo State, while also working at DoodleBugs! Children’s Center, and soon realized that her interest in psychology originated from her passion for working with children. She naturally transitioned into the field of education and began to refine her focus toward the mentoring role of teacher.
Baule not only took advantage of the opportunities within her major, she also expanded her networking on campus through different social realms. She became a member of the All College Honors Program, held executive board positions in Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, and visited Ireland with a cohort of faculty and students. Baule also became one of the first student facilitators of elementary education and reading’s now well-known Global Book Hour program, which integrates geography, vocabulary, music, visual arts, and healthy eating into a weekly, one-hour, session held at local businesses. Baule is overjoyed with the success GBH has maintained over the years and fondly remembers the experience, especially when she wore the Buffalo State Bengal mascot costume!
The versatile opportunities she was exposed to on campus encouraged Baule to develop teaching skills in various practical ways. The confidence, time management and overall leadership skills she gained as a student influenced her as a professional.
She states, “I think that at Buffalo State I was able to truly experience and explore so much of myself as a person.”
The multitude of tasks that came with her many campus initiatives - such as developing fundraisers and participating in community service ventures - increased her passion for a teaching career that extends beyond the classroom walls. Baule’s involvement and dedication within and out of the classroom was recognized as she was awarded the honor of Outstanding Undergraduate in Elementary Education and Reading.
The faculty within EER had a lasting impression on Baule’s pedagogy. Wendy McLeish, lecturer in the Elementary Education & Reading department (or as Baule deems her “the early childhood guru”), is a daily inspiration for Baule’s teaching. Ms. McLeish’s authentic, playful, and timely curricula challenged and also inspired Baule. McLeish’s mentorship extended beyond the classroom and she invited Baule to present alongside her at conferences, including the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Baule understands the challenges young teachers face when first entering the field. She advises new teachers to keep a strong professional demeanor in order to diminish any stereotypical ideas that others might project onto those just starting out in the classroom.
“I think that ageism is one of the more challenging things that I encounter. From presenting, to teaching other adults, to holding administrative roles, people will often discount you because you look young. Being able to act as a professional, be accountable, and follow through with your word and your work is critical to building that rapport,” she says.
Furthermore, Baule advises teacher-candidates to not be discouraged by the competitive market in teaching, and to remain open and flexible.
Baule demonstrates this flexibility as she moved between teaching in a Pre-K classroom to developing workshops for peers to instructing an associate course in child development. She previously directed her own childcare center before moving to Boston, where she now oversees a Reggio-inspired program and has an exceptionally diverse population with families from all over the globe. She states, “Building this community of learners while exploring their cultures and studying dual-language acquisition has been very fascinating.”
Crediting the skills she gained at Buffalo State, Baule feels confident that she can tackle any obstacle. And the next challenge she seeks is to write and publish a children’s book.
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