Kylee Ferrell

Kylee Ferrell Middle Level Education
Major/Job Title:
Elementary Education and Middle Level Dual Education Major
New Hartford, Iowa
Class Year:
Class of 2023

Kylee Ferrell

Why did you choose teaching as your profession? 

I always enjoyed being with kids, but I discovered my passion for teaching while working as a paraeducator in a middle school in Cedar Falls. Towards the end of the school year I realized that teaching was something I really wanted to do. I have a real passion for math, and really enjoy working with middle school-aged students.

Describe your field experiences and how they prepared you for your career. 

I have been through Level I through student teaching and being in the classrooms with veteran teachers helped me to learn to reflect on my lessons, how important prep for lessons is and how much having a relationship with students really does impact the classroom environment.

I worked as an intern at my church as the children’s ministry intern, which gave me experience with kids as well as the parents. My field experiences also helped me to get used to the classroom environment and how to run an effective and caring classroom.  

What does completing your degree mean to you?

It is something I have been working hard for, and finally getting a classroom of my own will be exciting, but a little nerve wracking. It means that I was finally getting to where I am supposed to be. 

What challenges did you face as you worked toward this degree and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was working with and trying to understand how to make the content engaging. For this I really relied on my professors and mentor teachers. They all offered great ideas and I realized that not everything will go the way you expect, so learning to adapt on the fly took a lot of practice.

I lived off campus and a town over so I traveled a good distance and I worked multiple jobs as well. This left little time for self-care during the week, so I made it a point to take the weekends to recoup and take care of myself. I also had some issues with controlling my type 1 diabetes, but I worked hard with my doctors to get my blood sugars under control. 

How did UNI help you achieve your goals?

The professors at UNI really take what they do seriously. They want you to succeed and are willing to do what it takes to help you achieve. The professors were always willing to answer questions and my classmates were always very friendly. The environment at UNI really does allow for the best learning experience possible. 

We often say UNI is student focused; a place where professors care--and teach; a place where learning happens in and out of the classroom; and is perfectly sized. How do any of these statements ring true for you?

I had many professors who demonstrated that they care about the students in their classroom. One specifically was Dr. Sarah Montgomery. She not only cared about her content area, but she wanted us to get self-care rhythms so that we were healthy for class and later in life.

I have friends who went to other state schools and they said that the classes were very large and they rarely met with or knew their professor. However, at UNI the classes weren’t that large and allowed students to get to know and interact with the professors which allowed for a more personal connection and made it easier to communicate and work with the professors when there was an issue. 

What’s your best memory of your time at UNI?

I would have to say my study abroad trip to London. I got to explore a new country and meet so many new people from around the world and other students with other majors  from UNI that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was a new and rewarding experience. 

What advice would you give to students considering UNI?

This really is a place where you can grow and learn, and where the staff and professors care about you as a person, not just as another student. The college really is the best, the professors care about your growth and you can meet some of the best people and make some great lasting friendships here. 

What do you plan to do with your degree? 

I will be teaching at Central Middle School in the Waterloo Community School District beginning in August 2023.