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Majors & Degrees

Kindra Schneider’s passion for teaching is contagious

December 21, 2022

Kindra Schneider started her career at DSU as an education student. After time in the workforce, both in and outside the education industry, she returned to DSU as an instructor.

As an educator, Schneider enjoys watching students grow in their understanding.

“The personal satisfaction that comes from seeing students succeed, and the positive impact we as teachers can have, is a massive reward in education,” she said.

That positive impact is what led her to a career in teaching. As a student at DSU, she found phenomenal professors like Gabe Mydland, Vicki Sterling, and Crystal Pauli, noting how they worked with students “to develop a well-rounded sense of what it means to educate the whole child.”

“These professors, along with others, taught me that to teach the mind, we first have to touch the heart and build a relationship of trust,” she said.

Schneider began her teaching journey at a Sioux Falls school with a large number of English Language Learners (ELL), 100% free and reduced lunch (meaning a high-poverty population), and a culturally diverse student population.

“I learned an immense amount that first year about myself as an educator and how to meet the needs of students who had obstacles to overcome,” she said.

Schneider spent the next eight years at that school. She eventually chose to return to DSU as an instructor due to her desire to expand her scope of influence.

“As an elementary classroom teacher, I can positively impact 20-30 students a year,” she explained. “As an instructor at DSU, I can help prepare over 30 pre-service teachers who can then go out and positively impact their own 20-30 students each year.”

At DSU, she teaches Education Assessment; Teaching English as a New Language; P-12 curriculum, instruction, and assessment of ELL; K-8 Language Arts Methods; and Human Relations.

To help prepare pre-service teachers, Schneider works with them to understand the content and know effective strategies for teaching that content. She teaches them to reflect and make changes based on what is and isn’t working. She also stresses the importance of building trust and strong relationships with students, parents, and peers.

This comes across through the relationships she builds with her DSU students. A current student, Lisa Olson, shared that Schneider has positively influenced her as a teacher. Olson feels that Schneider genuinely cares about helping her become the best teacher she can be.

As an instructor, one way Schneider does this is by providing in-depth feedback to her students throughout their coursework.

“I genuinely feel that feedback is the bridge between something being ‘taught’ and something being ‘learned,’” she said.

Many education experts have expressed the importance of feedback in helping students reach proficiency.

“I hope that each piece of feedback does one of the following: help move the learner along wherever they currently are on their learning continuum and/or helps me connect with the learner to build a relationship,” Schneider said.

Online student Meg Turner is thankful for this feedback. “She really knows how to push you academically, and her passion for teaching is inspiring,” Turner said. “She gives such in-depth feedback on every single assignment, and because of this, I have seen the most notable progress in my abilities in pedagogy relating to the classes in which she was my professor.”

While constructive feedback is essential, Schneider is careful to provide feedback beyond what someone did wrong. “When someone intentionally points out where we’re growing and improving and works to build that relationship with us, we come to the feedback with a more positive outlook,” she said. “This also means we’re more likely to apply it, which is where the growth happens.”

This is also important because it helps future teachers see themselves as successful.

“We know that success oftentimes must proceed confidence, and therefore I try to intentionally point out success,” she explained.

“I’m thrilled to hear I’ve had a positive impact,” Schneider said. “Hearing these things just reaffirms this is where I want to be and what I was called to do.”


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