“Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” For Teresa Kovach, the words of St. Francis sum up her experience at Franciscan University. After graduating with her degree in education in 2013, she moved to Kuwait to teach students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. “Living in a Muslim country, this quote reminds me of the spiritual nourishment I received at Franciscan–where I learned that the Gospel is about love, a language that speaks to every heart.”
Teresa completed the Early Childhood and Mild to Moderate Intervention Specialist Programs along with reading and 4th and 5th grade endorsements and a minor in psychology.
“Although I don’t believe anything in the world can prepare you for your first year of teaching, Franciscan University provided me with the strategies and confidence to make it through,” reflects Teresa. “From the dedicated instructors to the vast range of field placements, the Education Program provided a solid base for me to begin my career.”
Field placements were especially helpful, giving her varied opportunities to experiment in the role of teacher within a supportive environment. Her placements included elementary, middle, and special needs classrooms along with a juvenile correctional facility jail.
Teresa already had a passion for traveling, after living abroad as a child, volunteering in India, and studying in Austria with the Franciscan University Study Abroad Program. Then in her senior year, a guest speaker shared stories of the challenges and rewards of teaching abroad–and the seed was planted. Determined to find a teaching job (and an exciting one), Teresa accepted the position in Kuwait.
After three years in Kuwait, Teresa moved back to the United States to teach first grade at a diocesan school in Virginia, followed by two years teaching third grade special education in Fairfax Public Schools. These days, Teresa is back overseas, teaching third grade at the American International School in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
“My experiences at Franciscan prepared me to teach in a variety of different school settings—public, private, Catholic, international, special education, general education,” says Teresa. “At each school I taught at, I’ve been able to build upon the strong foundation Franciscan gave me to grow as an educator.
Teresa believes Franciscan University’s Education Department prepared her well for this challenge. “Franciscan University has shaped my perspective on the role of teaching, to provide each student with opportunities to be successful, but most importantly to provide each student with opportunities to build good character.