Jessica Calamera, BA/MSEd '13
For BA/MSEd Candidate Jessica Calamera, teaching is performance, artfully captivating an audience while imparting valuable knowledge.
And for Calamera, a singer-songwriter, performance is second nature.
Calamera is a candidate in the combined BA/MSEd program in math and adolescent education, set to completing the master’s degree program in special education in May. She is also a musician who sings, and plays piano, guitar and drums.
For the Yorktown, New York native, becoming a math teacher plays to her “natural knack for math” and performing. She says she was inspired by her senior year math teacher in high school.
“The way that he would make class so interesting and relatable to the students, while still relaying the necessary content and information made teaching very appealing to me,” she says. Calamera says she was also allured by the presentation piece of teaching and its similarity to performing, which she has done professionally since age 14. “I think that my knowledge of how to connect with the people listening to me, engage them, and make them have a good time is helping me tremendously in the classroom,” she says.
Calamera also says that the design of the School of Education programs to get students into classroom beginning their sophomore year has helped make her a confident educator. “I truly think this is wonderful because I was able to experience so many different types of students and teachers that molded me in to a very diverse and well-rounded educator,” she says. “I always knew that being a teacher would allow me to influence and guide young people down a positive path, and to first-hand see how you can change even just one student's life in an incredible way is absolutely life-changing.”
Her depth of experience in the classroom as a teaching candidate has allowed Calamera to reflect not only on her own professional goals, but to create a vision for the kind of educator she wants to be, to impact the lives of her students and answer the needs and challenges facing the teaching profession.
“Using what I have learned from my experience at Pace and my experience in the classroom, my real vision for my classroom is to create a space where students feel safe and free to be themselves, while also learning how to work hard towards their own important goals and aspirations,” she says. “I think that the greatest challenge to the teaching profession is to reach every student in an equally effective way. Finding a creative means of reaching the same level of understanding in each student is a difficult task.”
It is a task that she is up to, and which she credits to the preparation she has received from the School of Education.
“I knew from the first day I walked on campus that Pace would be the place for me,” she says. “I feel extremely prepared to teach and excited for whatever comes my way, because I know I have the tools to succeed.”