How I Got Ready: Montserrat’s Story
From the moment she set foot on the Alverno campus, Montserrat Alvarez Gonzalez felt at home.
“It felt like home, and it’s close to home, too,” she says.
Drawn to Alverno for its welcoming community and small class sizes, Gonzalez ― like many new students ― was nervous to move into the residence hall. But she quickly met lots of friendly students and making friends happened naturally. “The dorms were really fun to live in, and I became less shy.”
Gonzalez, who is studying to become a teacher, has continued to grow in confidence thanks to the support of her professors and peers. She credits Alverno’s unique abilities-based curriculum for providing a foundation for her growth. These abilities, including problem solving and communication, are woven into every Alverno course so that students can continue to develop the skills that will help them succeed in any field.
“Communication is a commonly used ability. But I have found that I’ve definitely become more comfortable with networking. It helps me better promote myself,” Gonzalez shares. “When I have assignments, I think of the 8 Abilities as a list. I love lists. They make me reflect a lot on my work. I feel comfortable knowing that they’re helping me. And just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean that I stop there. I keep working on it to improve.”
As a child, Gonzalez’s family immigrated to Wisconsin from Mexico. Amidst big changes in her life, she came to appreciate the stability of school.
“From the first time I started K-4, I was fascinated by authority. I had a great teacher and I looked up to her. Even to this day, I think she was very compassionate and understanding,” she recalls. “I definitely want to be a role-model and motivate other kids who were going through the same thing as I did.”
Gonzalez, who is majoring in Montessori education, hopes to teach children between the ages of two and five-and-a-half in a bilingual setting. She loves the hands-on approach to Montessori education, which includes independent, partner, whole-group, or small-group learning opportunities for a child to develop their capabilities.
“There is more than one way to teach. Teaching is limitless and learning is fun! Most importantly, teaching is preparing children for the real world and letting them dream,” she says.
Alverno’s Montessori program is one-of-a-kind in Wisconsin, preparing Gonzalez and her classmates for both a Wisconsin teaching license and international Montessori license. As a result, students have an edge in the job market.
Another way Alverno gets education majors ready? The unrivaled support from professors and peers, whether that’s lending a listening ear, providing career guidance, offering feedback on course work or connecting students with hands-on experience in the classroom. That’s how, when Gonzalez graduates in December 2021, she knows she’ll be ready for what’s next.
“For me,” explains Gonzalez, “feeling prepared is like having a plan. It’s like knowing how to do something without thinking about it twice. My next steps are to graduate and have my own classroom. I think that Alverno has helped me find available resources and networking. My professors are always helping me stay on track.”
This article was written by Glorivee Rivera, an Alverno English major and Spanish minor.