“The CalTeach program is committed to the success of each and every one of its students.”

Nicole Gassner, 2013 Biology/Education

My name is Nicole Gassner and I am very proud to be a part of the CalTeach 2013 cohort. I had always considered being a teacher but attended UCI in 2009 with the intention of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. I was hesitant to join the CalTeach program because the idea of having a daily schedule that involved rowing practice from 5-7am, student teaching right after from 8am-12pm, and then taking my classes, studying, and sometimes working the rest of the day seemed daunting. However, after seeing numerous advertisements for CalTeach and having some extra space in my class schedule late in my sophomore year, I finally decided to try out the first CalTeach class that I had heard so much about. Little did I know, two years after that first CalTeach class I would graduate with my bachelor’s degree, secondary teaching credential, and be employed within 2 months of graduation.

The CalTeach program is committed to the success of each and every one of its students. The staff members of the CalTeach program were very supportive and encouraging as I continued rowing, working, and completing the requirements for my degree and credential. Even after graduating, the faculty still supports its graduates by providing tips, resources, and alumni professional development opportunities. For any current/future students, don’t forget to utilize the CalTeach resources!

I teach both Life Science and Physical Science to 7th and 8th grade students at McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana Unified School District. I love being able to teach science and do creative hands-on activities with the students. Seeing the reactions of students when they finally understand something is very rewarding.

In addition to teaching, I also coach the Cross-Country, Track & Field, and Academic Pentathlon teams as well as the Run-Strong running club in which middle school students from around the school district gather to run 5k, 10k, and half-marathon races on weekends. I love doing this because I get to know students outside of the classroom and plus, I get to run with the students while ‘working’! Outside of work, in addition to running, I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, and spending time with friends and family.

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