Student convocation speaker strengthened by knowing ‘all students can learn’

Student Speaker Angie Miller speaks to the convocation audience as administrators and faculty on stage look on

Image by Mei-Ling Shaw Williams
Angie Miller, who recently earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English Education at the University of Iowa College of Education, speaks to the audience at the Teacher Education Convocation.

| December 19, 2016

Each and every student, regardless of their ability level, deserves a high-quality education.

Angie Miller, who recently earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English Education at the University of Iowa College of Education, knows this well. She also served as the student speaker at the recent Teacher Education Convocation. Eighty-three students completed teacher preparation programs this Fall 2016 semester. The event, held at the Iowa Memorial Union, found Miller shining a light on the need for high-quality education for students of all abilities.

After completing a Bachelor’s degree in English at the UI, Miller said she felt compelled to expand her education through the College of Education’s MAT in English Education program because she feels this level of education is beneficial to her aspirations as an educator.

Miller, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, expressed gratitude to both the College of Education and its faculty for making the MAT in English Education a valuable program, chalk full of resources and opportunities to receive mentorship. Although she had many positive experiences learning from faculty, Miller pointed to the mentoring she received from Clinical Professor Amy Shoultz, her advisor Associate Professor Carolyn Colvin, and Professor Bonnie Sunstein as being particularly inspiring.

She says a quote from Shoultz became an inspiring manta to her. Shoultz’s belief that “all students can learn” motivated Miller to hold herself accountable for student learning. This phrase also came to shape Miller’s world view.

Amy Shoultz

Amy Shoultz

“It kept sticking with me throughout my field experiences all the way through student teaching,’” says Miller. “It’s this simple thing to say. But, we have to really believe that. We have to believe that all students can learn despite someone telling you that they can’t.”

Teachers are there to be cheerleaders for their students, noted Miller. During her student teaching experiences at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville, Iowa, Miller says she found that students who lacked confidence in themselves needed her to believe in them. This proved to be a path toward success for these students, allowing them to thrive in their learning.

“It is rewarding when you can get a student to finish a book or finish writing a paragraph and they’re proud of it,” says Miller. “That feels great because you helped them believe in themselves.”

Miller will begin a new job teaching language arts at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School in Reinbeck, Iowa, beginning in January 2017.