When Elizabeth Ditty, ‘16, was in elementary school, she was determined to be a teacher at Tyrone Elementary School in Tyrone, PA.
Why that particular school? It was the school she attended, and she loved it.
Now, after spending three years teaching preschool at The Goddard School in the State College area, Liz is returning to Tyrone as a kindergarten teacher. And she credits her teachers–from Tyrone Elementary to Mount Aloysius–for helping her to succeed and for inspiring her passion for teaching and learning.
From the moment she stepped foot into the elementary school as a child, she knew she wanted to teach there.
“When I moved to Tyrone, it was a difficult transition,” Liz said. “But my teachers always loved and believed in me! I knew I was called to work there. I just felt it in my bones.”
At Mount Aloysius, Liz kept busy by focusing on assisting and teaching her fellow students. She worked as a Resident Assistant in Saint Joe’s and Saint Gertrude’s dorms, participated in the Mercy Youth Initiative, was involved in the leadership honor society, wrote for the student newspaper, and served as a work study in the Student Success Office.
She says that she loved her time at the Mount because of the loving environment she experienced on campus. But she also appreciates the lessons she learned outside of the classroom.
“Dreams don’t work unless you do! Hard work will pay off if you work hard. Also, if you ask for help when you need it, you will get all the help you need!” Liz said, listing some of the most important things she took away from her time at the Mount.
“I learned how much I appreciate a small community and being part of a small town. I learned to use my resources and to always be kind and help people when they need it. To be the person I want to be in the world! I love Mount Aloysius so much, and I miss it so much! I wouldn’t be who I am without my experiences from there!”
But after spending years attempting to land her dream job, Liz has first hand experience with some of the issues new teachers can face. It took four years, but she stayed dedicated and never gave up. She said that although she was told about the struggles to get a job in a school district, she didn’t believe it until experiencing it herself.
“Honestly, my biggest piece of advice [for current and prospective education students] is to get established at a childcare center or school and volunteer or work there for a summer camp so that you have some connections for after you graduate,” Liz said. “Getting your foot in the door early can help you get a job out of college. While you’re in college, get your name out there and build on experiences related to education–it will help you out so much! Do this right away, as often as you can, even on winter breaks! Get yourself in a school and build that resume and experience! You’ll need it when you’re looking for a job.”
Despite the trials Liz faced, she says she is still excited to begin the school year. She loves kids and how impressionable they are, because she can help them learn and grow in meaningful ways. But she says she’s most excited to live her passion every day.
“I can’t wait to be around my students and help them learn the skills they need to become independent and critical thinkers! I love seeing them start to master skills on their own. Knowing that I can provide a safe and happy space for my learners is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher!”