Katie Westlake plans to become an elementary teacher after college. Before and during her time at Iowa State University, she has collected multiple leadership experiences that are paving the way toward her future career.
Katie Westlake is studying to become an elementary school teacher. When she isn't studying, she enjoys biking, rollerblading, swimming, and hammocking.
Katie Westlake pursues teaching, learns through leadership experiences
Katie Westlake has always had teaching in the back of her mind. Following the voice inside her head has led Katie to a promising future in elementary education.
Katie began her freshman year majoring in animal science, but soon realized that her calling was in the classroom. She already had volunteer experience in classrooms, so she transitioned smoothly into her new major.
“In high school, my friend’s mom was a teacher, so I would go into her classroom when I had time and help her with whatever she needed,” Katie said.
Katie could often be found helping any teacher in need of a hand, so before coming to college, she had already worked with pre-K, third, and fifth grade students.
Katie pursues professional development in many aspects of her life. She has grown as an educator in her position as a Gilbert Intermediate Technology Intern, where she has learned about and helped with classroom technology. She has also held three leadership positions in her sorority. Among these sorority leadership positions was the scholarship committee, where she helped students academically and tracked the progress they made with their grades and GPA.
“I was in charge of a small group of [sorority] members to help keep them accountable, and be their go-to person if they had questions about grades or school.”
Katie’s most influential experiences were her practicum experiences at Altoona Elementary in Altoona, Iowa, and Canyons School District in Utah. During these practicums, she assisted in teaching first and third grade students. She said she would enjoy teaching for either of those levels in the future.
Katie said she enjoyed her practicum work because she obtained real world practice that the classroom can’t quite emulate.
“Take advantage of your practicum experiences when you go into the classroom,” Katie said. “It is such an eye-opening experience and you learn so much, because you’re actually in a classroom with a teacher, and that’s what you’re going to be doing [in the future]."