Brianna Abbate's ('18) journey through App State took her from her homewtown of Centereach (New York), to high school in Charlotte, to college in Boone, and eventually to Gutenbergschule School in Karlsruhe, Germany, where she completed her international student teaching experience. Along the way, she excelled in the History Dept. and in her various internships, including the first ten weeks of student teaching at Ashe County School. Reflecting on her path towards becoming a teacher, Brianna recalls:
"I knew I wanted to be a teacher in second grade. My second grade teacher was so passionate about education and she made me love learning. My interest in history began in eighth grade and continued throughout high school. Every history teacher that I had was so passionate about the subject and they connected so well with the students. By the time I got to Appalachian State, I knew I wanted to be a history teacher. I wanted to be one of those teachers that made students love to learn like my history teachers and professors did for me."
Brianna is a social studies teacher at RJ Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, NC.
1. Why did you choose App State?
Brianna Abbate: I chose App State specifically for their education program. I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher and I had heard so many great things about App State’s education program. Once I looked further into the program I knew it was the place for me! The absolutely beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains was also a plus!
2. How did ASU prepare you for a career in History/Social Studies Education?
BA: I prepared for my career as a History/Social Educator by reflecting on the lessons my teachers used in high school and the lessons I taught in student teaching. I thought about which lessons I enjoyed being a part of the most, and why they connected. I also thought about ways to integrate pop culture into my lessons in order to grab students attention; for example, have students make a music playlist for a unit. These types of lessons show students how their lives connect to history.
3. What excites you the most about working with students?
BA: The thing that excites me most about working with students is helping them find their own strengths. As a teacher, my job is not only to help students learn about history, but also to help them learn about themselves. By creating a safe and healthy learning environment, I want my students to understand that while they all have differ strengths, they are all important.
4. What advice would you provide students interested in majoring in History and History/Social Studies Education?
BA: The advice that I have for students interested in majoring in History and History/Social Studies Education is plan to take history classes freshman year. Taking these classes will allow you begin to build your knowledge base and will allow you to become familiar with the way the history department works, and what they expect. If you decide that you do want to major in History or History/Social Studies Education, take as many specific classes as possible. For example, I took at class called The Vietnam War. While it was specific, I learned so much about the 1950’s-1970’s. Because the subject was so focused, the professor has time to share interesting and detailed stories about the time period. These are stories that you can use in your career that will really grab the students’ attention!