Catherine Sorenson: Future Educator

Catherine is a senior from Arcadia, WI studying Spanish and Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood. She is student-teaching next semester and is very excited.

Her Campus (HC): What inspired you to go into education, and specifically early childhood and elementary?

Catherine Sorenson (CS): I didn’t actually know that I was meant to teach until halfway through my sophomore year at WSU. I was formerly a paralegal major, and I was struggling to go to class, finish assignments, and feel the way that I thought I was supposed to about my future career. So after some soul-searching and a few mini mental breakdowns, my roommate says to me, “Catherine. Think about it. What do you love? What do you always look forward to doing?” My answer was that I loved being around kids. I loved working with kids and reading with them. I loved seeing the “lightbulb” face they got when they learned something new. I chose early childhood, because I enjoy working with students in kindergarten and younger. This way, I have a wider variety of teaching positions that I can apply for when I get my license.


HC: What are you most excited for about student teaching? What are you most nervous for?

CS: I just got my student teaching placement on April 14, and I am so excited. I actually got placed in a 4th grade classroom, which is near the top of what I will be licensed for. I’m nervous because I don’t have a lot of experience working with students that old. In a way, I’m also excited for that because I will have my cooperating teacher there with me, and she will be there to help guide me before my “training wheels” come off and I start teaching on my own.

HC: What has been your best experience at WSU?

CS: I’ve been a student at WSU for so long—5 ½ years—that it’s hard to pick just one experience I had that was my favorite. I have to say that it’s not an event exactly, but I can see my personal growth since coming here. I had a difficult transition from high school into college, but it really has been a journey that has been worth it.

I remember coming to college and feeling like I was alone and that everyone else knew something about “how to college” that I just didn’t understand. It was actually right around the time that I switched my major that I really felt at home. I branched out by attending classes that I actually enjoyed, making friends in and outside of the education major, getting a job on campus, and joining Kappa Delta Pi, the honor society on campus for education majors. These things have helped me grow so much into the woman I am today that while I wish I would have known who I was sooner, I know that good things happen in their own time.


HC: What advice do you have for students entering the education program?

CS: For new education majors, I want to say, “WELCOME!” Choosing to be an education major was the best decision that I have ever made. I want to tell you that being a teacher won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. There is always something to gain. When a lesson goes well, you have this rush knowing that “wow. I taught a kid a really great thing today.” When a lesson doesn’t go as well as you thought it would, it’s a learning moment for you, which is absolutely okay. That’s actually a critical part of teaching: reflecting on what went well and what you would do differently to best help your students grow.


HC: How do you feel about leaving Winona after five years?

CS: After being at WSU for so long, I have a lot of feelings hitting me all at once. I’m excited to get into student teaching, have my own classroom and students, and get into the “outside world.” But Winona has given me so much. While I won’t be so far away while student teaching, and I don’t know where I’ll be in the next 5-10 years, I know that I will always have a home to come back to in Winona, and that becoming a WSU alumni was a journey that will take me to unimaginable places in my life.

Let’s give a thanks to Catherine and all of the soon-to-be teachers; they will be educating the future leaders of the world.