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Education Student Sees Need to Meet Students Where They Are

Nicholas Yialiades
Nicholas Yialiades

First-year student and secondary education major and substitute teacher, Nicholas Yialiades is studying the importance of meeting adolescent students where they are in their own development.

“Each student is different; some might be affected by their racial or ethnic aspects, or by their gender, or where they come from. It’s important to consider, as perspective is something that all education students need as teachers. Each student is going to bring something different into the classroom. They are each going to be at a different stage in developing who they are, and that’s going to affect the classroom,” Yialiades said.

Aside from being a student himself, the Hinsdale, NH, resident also works as a substitute teacher in his hometown school district three days a week and subs in classrooms ranging from pre-school to seniors in high school. “Working with middle and high school students has really cemented my decision to work in secondary education,” Yialiades said.

In an essay Yialiades wrote, “Most importantly, I have begun to develop the dispositions that come with the many different hats that a teacher must wear, including those of a mediator, a mentor, and a role model, to name a few.”

Although teachers must wear many hats, Yialiades said, “There’s nothing quite like the experience of working with a student when they have that, ‘ah-ha’ moment—you know the light bulb goes on, and you realize you helped make that happen.”

Last summer Yialiades worked as a school teacher for his local middle school, where he explored the stereotypes of students who are forced to take summer school classes. He said that working with those particular students day after day allowed him to establish relationships with them.

“The students were able to break through whatever is challenging them and recognize that they have more potential than the failing grades that got them there,” Yialiades said. He explained that for a couple of students in particular, he was able to see noticeable changes in their personality.

“For some students, the change in their attitude over the summer session was pretty remarkable. Being able to go through that journey with them, even though it was only for a short time, makes you stop and think that teaching is a pretty significant job, and I love it,” Yialiades said.

By Kendall Pope, Keene State senior studying journalism and public relations, with a minor in broadcast journalism

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