Meet Katherine Hackbarth (’22), a current 6th-grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran Macomb.

As a graduate of an undergrad program at Concordia University Ann Arbor, what inspired you to return to Concordia for your graduate work?

While reflecting on my time at Concordia during my undergrad program, I love to see all of the positive relationships I made with my peers and my professors. I am also able to reflect on all of my education classes which have most definitely prepared me for my current role as a teacher. With wanting to pursue graduate work, there was no other place than Concordia where I wanted to be engaged in the type of education classes that I knew they would offer. Also, I knew that I would be able to have some of the same amazing, kind and loving professors that I did in my undergraduate program.

How has the Masters with Teacher Certification graduate program best prepared you to work with students in the classroom?

So far, in the few classes I have already taken, I have been able to explore all of the different areas in which I can not only teach my students, but also ways in which my students can learn. Another big piece of information from these classes that I reflect on almost daily is the fact that not all students are the same. God created each and every one of us to be unique and that means that we will not all be reaching the same milestones at the same time and we will not all learn in the same ways. That being said, I am constantly thinking of ways that I can reach all of my students in the way I teach them and the way they learn. Yes, it means that I often make accommodations to my lesson plans and I may take longer on something than I want to, but it is all about meeting the needs of my students where they are at. 

How has Concordia supported you in fulfilling your vocational calling?

During my undergrad in particular, a few of my professors kept pushing me to do and be my very best. I was reminded countless times to not give up and to keep going because teaching is what God has called me to do. There were times when I was questioning and doubting, but I was encouraged to keep going. I am thankful for Concordia and all of the professors who supported me through all of my challenging moments to keep going and to bring God glory in all that I do. 

What makes you an Uncommon educator?

As previously mentioned, God created each and every one of us to be unique, which makes me think that teachers are not all the same. One thing this year that I think makes me an Uncommon educator is matching with all of my girls for twin day. We all wore Crocs, black pants and matching t-shirts, which I bought and one of the mom’s helped make. Twin day, especially in middle school, can cause some tension between friends and I did not want any of my girls to feel left out. The joy and excitement on their faces was absolutely priceless and we definitely all made a memory together!

Why should other Concordia graduates pursue this program?

So far, this program has been great. With great feedback and comments on assignments from my professors and other classmates, I have learned quite a bit. Not only have I learned from the assignments, but the comments from my classmates have definitely brought fun, unique perspectives to my thinking. This is a great program where you will not only learn a lot independently, but you will also be able to offer different viewpoints and insights to the discussions with your classmates.

Related: Learn more about the Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction with Elementary Teacher Certification and Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction with Secondary Teacher Certification programs.

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The School of Education offers program emphases in urban, international, and emerging education through four distinct undergraduate departments and eleven graduate programs.