Alumni Spotlight: Diana Rozum
- Where do you teach, and which Relay program are or were you enrolled in?
I just finished student-teaching fifth grade reading and writing at West Woods Upper Elementary School in Farmington, CT. I was a teaching resident, enrolled in Relay’s one-year certification program.
- What brought you to teaching?
I have worked as a Special Education paraprofessional for years, but deep within my heart I always carried the desire to to become a full time teacher. When the pandemic hit, I worked diligently with my case managers to develop innovative ways for our learners to access high quality education during such an unpredictable time. The encouraging words of previous case managers, administrators, colleagues, and family members spoke louder and louder to me. "Diana, you were born to teach and you are a natural educator." When I saw the opportunity to enroll at Relay, I listened to those encouraging words which have always resonated with me and propelled me to take the next steps to become a teacher. Goodness, I am so happy I did.
- What do you love about teaching?
What I absolutely love about teaching is the relationships that I have developed with my students. Carving out some time to get to know who my students are as individuals and as learners has been essential to my teaching, as well as cultivating a classroom environment that is welcoming, safe, equitable, and culturally responsive. Watching them build confidence in their academics and kindness and empathy in their social interactions is incredibly rewarding.
- What has been your favorite memory from the past year?
My favorite memory of this school year was working with my Resident Advisor to teach our students the importance of chunking out complex text when reading. We introduced the lesson by singing the lyrics "When texts get complex, chunk it out" to the beat of Funky Town. All the kids were up dancing and laughing. To this day, when we read a complex text, the kids sing that song remembering what to do... Chuuuuuunnnnk it outttttt!
- What have you learned from your Relay experience?
Working alongside my Resident Advisor and attending classes taught by Relay professors has been incredibly impactful. We practice our teaching strategies in real time, and everything aligns together - what we’re learning in our coursework with what we’re doing in our classrooms. Our advisors often modeled teaching strategies for us, and then we got to quickly apply them through our residency teaching experience.
In the years ahead, I wish to continue my education in a master of arts in teaching and get my endorsements in early childhood education and special education.