top of page

Take the lead in your learning featuring Grace Pinto and Rebecca Nicholls

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Today on the EduMagic Podcast, I interview Grace Pinto and Rebecca Nicholls, two future teachers studying at the California University of Pennsylvania. During our conversation, they shared the importance of being a leader in your learning, how to take on leadership roles, and the role a leader plays in the classroom. Let's jump in!

Tell me about yourself and your teaching journey

Hi, I’m Rebecca Nicholls. I’m currently a senior PreK- Grade 4 major at Cal U, and I’ll start my student teaching journey this January. I’m anxious to get into the classroom and make an impact. I am pursuing elementary education at Cal U was an easy choice for me. My whole life, I have loved school and all things school-related. It’s only fitting to spend the rest of my life in the classroom where I’m happiest. I met Grace in my junior year at our campus work-study at the Career and Professional Development Center. We were both new to the position and the office, so I was excited to meet and work with someone with the same interests as me. Since she was a freshman, I encouraged her to join Student PSEA. She came to the first meeting, and I immediately knew that she had what it takes to be a leader

Hello! I’m Grace Pinto. I am a sophomore at California University of Pennsylvania studying Early Childhood Education Pre-K through 4. I am one of my university's first Rutledge Institute Scholars for Early Childhood Education. I am using every learning opportunity now to be the best teacher I can be for my future students!

  • Rutledge Scholar- I have gained exceptional opportunities working with young children in the Rutledge Institute preschool. I work one-on-one with students, teach lessons and plan activities while bonding with the students and their families. I was interviewed for the PASSHE #Prepared4Pa video about the Rutledge Institute Program. Within the next year, I will gain more field experience and enrichment opportunities in the K-4 levels.

Check out a video about the Rutledge Institute for Early Ed Childhood program:

  • My passion for teaching started at a very young age. I would anticipate the next time I would go to school, so I could come home to teach my little sister what I had learned. On days I didn’t have school, I would always ask my mom to take me to the school she worked at so I could be her helper. I admired my mom’s dedication to her job, most importantly, to her students. Since then, I’ve wanted a class of my own where I can learn alongside my students daily!

  • When I met Rebecca, I was inspired by her dedication to her coursework, creativity, and involvement in the university. She has been a role model for me and has inspired me to have confidence in my abilities to be a leader. Rebecca will be a creative, accepting, and influential teacher!

Why is it important for future teachers to take on a leadership role during their college career?

Grace: In the years I have been studying at Cal U, I have been a leader in the Rutledge Institute Scholarship, the vice president of SPSEA (Student Pennsylvania State Education Association), and a peer mentor. Next semester, I will continue my involvement in these organizations. I will serve as the Vice President of Kappa Delta Pi, a National Educational Honor Society, and the Committee Chairperson of SPSEA.

  • I believe it is important for future teachers to take leadership positions in college because it teaches you to lead with humility. When a leader, you must listen to others and their needs, know when to let others be leaders, and collaborate within a team. All of these are necessary skills to have in a classroom. I also feel that a leader will gain more confidence the more involved. I am confident and prepared for future interviews because I have experience with public speaking.

  • Your confidence grows the more involved you are. I have become more passionate about teaching from my leadership positions in the education program. I set new goals for myself and brought new ideas to the program. The experience of leading the education program at your university can help you collaborate with your peers and professors on projects and ideas for your future classroom.

Rebecca: I have been involved with student PSEA since my freshman year, and I am currently the President. I am also part of the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi, where I serve as Vice President. I am also a Career Ambassador at the Career and Professional Development Center, where I work on a team of 7 other ambassadors.

Leadership roles set you up to be a leader in your own classroom. I can’t think of any effective teacher that is not a leader, so these roles give you a jump start and some practice leading before you have to do it on your own.

Schools need teachers who are excited and passionate about teaching and leading. Our students deserve a teacher who is an agent of change, whether a first-year teacher or an experienced teacher.