PCDE Student Stories | Tony Casella

MAT Cohort Program Student Spotlight

Where are you from? Swedesboro, N.J.

What year are you graduating? December 2017

What is your program/major? Master of Teaching STEM Education, MAT 
(Program emphasis: Business Technology Education)

What are your future career goals? Right now my goals are to teach High School Tech. Ed. or Business Technology. Possibly in the future Adjunct Engineering courses.

Student Teaching Experience

What is/was your role and responsibilities? What did you teach? 

During my student teaching I taught Business Technology. In the courses of Personal Finance and Retail Management I performed all the planning, instructional and assessment activities from the first day of school through the end of my student teaching. In the Business Incubator and Presentation classes I supported my cooperating teacher.

Were you familiar with this district?

I was familiar with the district as I performed observations there and substituted there on a number of occasions.

What will you take away from this experience that you can apply to your future career? 

I would have to say that pretty much everything is a takeaway. I am a new teacher getting my feet wet after spending nearly 30 years in industry. The MAT program really opened up my eyes as to how comprehensive the education process is. There is a science to it.

What have you learned throughout your Shippensburg University education that has been most helpful during your student teaching?

This is a hard question as there are many aspects of the program that I applied during my student teaching and in my new position now. I would guess that it is a combination of items. I would have to say that learning how to assess my own lessons and activities through observing students progress and behavior greatly improved my lessons.

How has Shippensburg University prepared you for your future?

Education is a second career for me and the MAT/STEM program provided me with the skills and abilities to successfully teach students what I have learned over many years in the industry.  The program provided me with the ability to "merge" academic theory with real world applications and experiences.

Any favorite courses, experiences, or faculty moments you’d like to share?

We had good experiences with cohort get togethers on and off campus as well as the faculty supported us as if we were part of a family. Whenever we had issues involving not just our program, but with other university departments, the faculty helped us navigate the process successfully and gave their personal attention to supporting our needs.

New Experiences & Future Goals

Did you have previous experience, knowledge, or background in the content area of your chosen program? If no, what helped you chose your area of study through PCDE?

I have had no prior experience in the field of formal education. The experience is completely new to me. I guess I chose path for several reasons. 

First, I found myself on occasion discussing a variety of topics and potential careers with peers of my children and their families. It was suggested many times that I should consider teaching and I acted upon it.

Second, I felt it is an opportunity to support future generations by providing students with some of the knowledge I gained over many years in industry.

What surprised you in taking some of the courses?

I was very surprised by the complexity of the education process.  I never knew that education was a scientific process that has so many extra variables.  These variables are endless because we are educating individuals, and as individuals we are all different.  In engineering and science, we like to have controls and only 1 variable at a time.  This is not anywhere near the case in education.

Did you have any difficulty getting through your coursework once you were enrolled in your program?

I had many challenges during my program.  There were times where just life in general has its ups and downs and when you are raising a family things happen.  The faculty was wonderful in understanding that sometimes life happens and worked with me as I had to resolve some issues that arose.

How do you plan to use your certificate, degree, or new knowledge and experience? Can you share a professional goal of yours?

My plan is to teach High School Technology courses or Business courses. Currently I am employed full time teaching Technology Education at the High School level. I was fortunate enough to be hired a few weeks before graduation in the same district I did my student teaching at in Business Technology.

Any tips for future students? 

The biggest tip for future students is to take any opportunity they have to stay caught up in the course work. Things happen in life and by staying caught up you will have the flexibility needed to get through the program successfully.

Learn more about the Master's in Teaching STEM Education program