NYU Steinhardt News

"Why Do You Want To Teach?” Q&A with Literacy Education Student Stephanie Plachy

While some Steinhardt students are studying around the globe, others decided to enjoy the snow with us at our New York City campus for the January term. We talked with one of these students, Literacy Education master's student and middle school teacher Stephanie Plachy, to learn about her time taking the “Text, Tools, and Culture” course this winter and why she wanted to become a teacher.

Where are you from?
I'm originally from Natick, MA. I've been living in New York for almost 8 years now (since I came to NYU Steinhardt as an undergraduate!).

What made you interested in taking the "Text, Tools, and Culture" course this winter?
This course is a required part of my program, but this is the first time it has been offered in January. Traditionally it was a semester-long course in the Literacy program.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the class?
My professor, Carolyn Strom, has made our course a "modified flipped" class. This means that we are spending some of our course hours doing assignments or field trips outside of the classroom. For example, last week we had to go to a storytelling event like an improv show, story hour, etc. This allows us to take the things we're learning via readings, talks, and podcasts and apply them in a variety of smaller assignments. So far, it's been a nice way to break up the intensity of a three-week class.

What is one important thing you learned while taking this class?
I've learned more about how humans are hard wired to respond to stories. There is research that shows we remember information better if it is told in the form of a story, so this class is making me think about how to apply that to my teaching.

What do you hope to accomplish with what you've learned in "Texts, Tools, and Culture?"
I teach 6th grade English Language Arts and Technology in the New York City Department of Education, so I'm always looking for connections between what I learn in grad school and my classroom. I'm excited to use some of the digital tools we're discussing in class, including both texts such as podcasts and digital tools to support my students' learning.

Why did you want to become a teacher, and how has Steinhardt helped you fulfill those goals?
I've known that I wanted to teach for about as long as I can remember. My mom is a high school teacher, so I remember spending time in her high school classroom when I was young. Steinhardt not only prepared me to be in the classroom, but it also helped me discover my passion for urban education. Prior to coming to NYU, I didn't know anything about schools in large urban districts. I love the enormous diversity not only in students but also in education philosophies that exists in New York City. Both teachers and students can find a school that is a good fit for their needs and interests. Steinhardt also helped me in my job search. Many of my professors had connections with schools, so I was able to find a job soon after I graduated.