Emily Stumpo

B.A.Ed. Elementary Education

Curriculum and Instruction

  • 2022, William & Mary, Bachelor of Arts in Education, Elementary Education
  • 2022, William & Mary Dual Certification, ESL Education

What kind of educational and professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
As a current senior at William & Mary, I am currently gaining educational and professional experiences in my student teaching placement in a fifth-grade classroom. Prior to this year, I have had many professional experiences in various schools and grade levels throughout my college experience. Last year my practicum was in a fourth-grade classroom, where I was observing and teaching lessons in math, science, and literacy. Years before that, I have volunteered in a first-grade bilingual education classroom, a kindergarten classroom, and a third-grade classroom. Through all of these experiences in a variety of different grade levels, I have developed many helpful skills and ideas from a variety of teachers and their individualized methods of teaching. 

As a student pursuing a bachelor's degree in elementary education, why did you choose this field, and what motivates you in this work?
I chose to pursue the field of education because I knew I wanted to affect others’ lives in positive and meaningful ways. I will be able to accomplish this life goal of mine through the role as an elementary school teacher, through shaping young people’s minds and helping them grow. I value life-long learning and I believe that every child deserves a quality education with a teacher who believes in them, and I strive to be that teacher for many. The Bachelors in Education degree will lead and prepare me for a career that will provide me with the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives and educate them to become successful young learners and leaders. What motivates me most in this work is thinking about how I will leave a positive effect on my students as well as impact their constantly evolving lives. To be able to have any sort of influence on someone else’s life is a true gift in my opinion, and I am so excited to be an influential and supportive teacher for my students in the future.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
After graduation in 2022, I hope to teach somewhere near my hometown of Yorktown, Virginia, which would include elementary schools in either York County School District (YCSD) or Williamsburg-James City County (WJCC). After a few years of experience as a teacher, I aspire to pursue a Master’s degree in either Education or Educational Leadership if I desire to work in school administration. For me, it can be a little strange to think about 10 or 15 years from graduation since life can be so uncertain, but a long-term goal of mine has always been to write a children’s book with a theme of inclusivity. I have always loved writing, and this would be such a meaningful project for me in the future. Also, I hope that 10-15 years from now I am still making a difference in students’ lives as either a teacher or administrator, as well as keeping in touch with all of my former students and colleagues.

Why did you choose to apply to William & Mary and specifically to this program? What sets this degree program apart from those offered at other colleges?
I have definitely had more of a unique college experience than most people. I actually transferred to William & Mary in Spring 2020, had half of a semester of “normality,” then COVID hit, and then had virtual classes until Fall 2021. Something that I always remind myself is that everyone’s college experience looks different, and I am simply forming my own, unique path. I am forever grateful that I decided to transfer to W&M, as I love the community of students and faculty members, and how everyone is encouraging and supportive of each other to be successful in our academics and prepared for life after college. This strong sense of community has been very welcoming and inclusive for me as a student who transferred here in Spring 2020, which I absolutely admire and appreciate about W&M. I specifically chose the Bachelors in Education degree program because I believe that a large part of learning to be a teacher is from experience. Therefore, I wanted to choose the quickest path to becoming a teacher. This way I can start learning and making mistakes as I go when I am a teacher, all after just four years in this B.A.Ed. program here at W&M. This degree program sets W&M apart from other colleges as it is one of the only ones that offers a B.A.Ed. program. Before transferring, my previous university required you to do five years to get a Master's Degree in Education in order to be a teacher, which I think is financially limiting to many students. Hence why the W&M B.A.Ed. program is an inclusive program that encourages getting new teachers started with their careers quickly, yet fully prepared and confident.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
The most influential experience in this program so far has been my field experiences in the local elementary schools, specifically with the students that I have been lucky enough to meet and work with. Every student that I have encountered has brought unique experiences and talents to teach me new things about life and our world. A large factor contributing to why I wanted to be a teacher was because I wanted to work with children. I just find their creativity and curiosity to be inspiring for me as a teacher to be the same with learning, and with life in general. In my current placement in a fifth-grade class, the students always seem to brighten my day. Even on the bad days, these fifth graders make me laugh and remind me of why I decided to be a teacher.

Any additional information you think a prospective student should know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
William & Mary’s School of Education is such a special place to me. Something I think prospective students should know about is the tight-knit community. Your classes are going to be less than twenty people, and you will really get to know your peers and professors on a personal level. You will meet the kindest, most supportive professors at the School of Education, ones that encourage you to be a leader as a teacher and to think outside the box. They teach you to be unafraid of change and to be innovative in your teaching practices. W&M’s School of Education provides many various degree programs, both online and in-person, to best meet your needs and goals academically. Approaching my student teaching semester in the spring, as well as my first year of teaching next year, I feel confident in the knowledge I have been taught here at W&M’s School of Education and prepared to begin my career.

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