posted November 25, 2015- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
“The Buffalo State College literacy program did much more than just prepare me for a job as a literacy professional. It was integral in igniting my passion for literacy and for helping me bring that passion to my students.”
Buffalo State’s great teaching program attracts students nationwide, and the affordability of our university is another enticing factor for our students. The close location, reputation, and low cost were major components for Anna DeBalski’s consideration of our program. She states, “I also knew they had a very strong education program and had connections with many area schools.”
Teachers have a strong influence on their local community, which inspired DeBalski to study education. DeBalski states, “I had a strong desire and passion for working with students and making a difference in the community.”
Several professors impacted DeBalski’s view on education, such as Professor Chris Shively and Dr. Jevon Hunter. Teaching is a creative pursuit, and both of these educators modeled how to teach in innovative ways. They challenged her to consider the way she approaches her planning and to critically understand the implications of her teaching.
DeBalski continues to work with Dr. Hunter, and has not only presented alongside him but has also brought her own students to take part in the conference. Dr. Hunter has made a large impact on DeBalski’s teaching pedagogy, stating “Hunter continues to inspire me and push my thinking about the way we ‘do school.’ His insights and support have made a huge impact on my teaching and my students.”
Hunter reflects on his past student and new colleague, “What makes Anna a terrific educator is her deep understanding of the challenges many adolescents and their families face when it comes to literacy education, and her tireless pursuit to redress these issues. I have had the great fortune of viewing Anna’s work first-hand and witnessing her growth from student to urban educator. I look forward to working with her in the future on projects that benefit our young people and their families.”
DeBalski currently teaches at Health Sciences Charter School, and enjoys the challenge of finding new ways to increase high school students literacy skills. DeBalski states, “Teaching allows me to be creative and come into contact with a diverse group of people.”
DeBalski plans to continue her studies to become a certified literacy specialist.