My name is Kayla and my preferred pronouns are she, her and hers. I have recently graduated from Kent State University with a bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Currently, I am in John Carroll’s School Psychology Program.
I grew up in the west side Cleveland area in a town called North Ridgeville. I lived there all throughout my childhood and my family continues to live there. During my time in North Ridgeville I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, playing softball and spending time with my family. I have two little brothers who I love spending time with, they are currently 16 and 18, so they are not so little anymore. I was also very fortunate to grow up in a city where my grandparents and aunt and uncles live! Having my family so close to me growing up was incredible.
In my spare time I love to go to the gym, cook, hang out with friends, read and listen to podcasts. I try to keep myself relatively busy while bettering myself, this is why I find the gym to be a good release. I also was fortunate enough to have been gifted an air fryer this Christmas! I have been essentially putting everything I can into there and trying out different recipes. Currently, I have been really into making different types of oatmeal. As of now, pumpkin pie oatmeal is my favorite. I am hoping as the semester continues I will find more recipes I enjoy, as well as getting better at baking (so far, I have not had good luck)! Quarantine and COVID has made for hanging out with friends and going out to eat pretty obsolete, but I feel lucky to be able to FaceTime with them and stay in contact that way. Another aspect of me I listed is listening to podcasts, my favorite one is named Mile Higher. This podcast has a lot of current events, true crime and even conspiracy theories. I find myself very interested in the topics the hosts talk about and I really enjoy playing the podcast while I am doing other things. I find the open-mindedness the hosts have to be refreshing without pushing any sort of idea or agenda. The link to the podcast I enjoy: https://open.spotify.com/show/3HMLJYY1FQQrtY20iAQ7M5.
As I mentioned previously, I am pursing my Ed.S degree in order to practice School Psychology. I am open to working with any grade level, but I am hoping to be placed with younger children, perhaps elementary level. From what I have heard from other School Psychologist’s is that they are typically responsible for multiple schools in a district, so I may be fortunate enough to experience many different grade levels. I am hoping to secure a job position in the future that is not all based on testing, but also engaging and interacting with the children outside of testing.
When thinking about how I can feel most comfortable in the classroom, the first thing that comes to mind is how comfortable I feel with my peers. I find building a solid relationship with my peers as well as the professor is the most important aspect to me. I have never been a very introverted individual, however, it can be difficult to feel comfortable sharing thoughts and feelings in a classroom setting if there is no relationship foundation. Aside from building a relationship based on respect, being open to other thoughts and opinions would also aid in a comfortable setting. If these components are achieved I think the learning environment would be ideal to take intellectual and creative risks. Keeping judgement or harsh criticism to a minimum would likely be in the best interest of each individual in the classroom, especially because everyone is there to learn and better themselves.
Education Past and Present
At this point in my life it seems as though I have been in school forever. When reflecting back on my experiences as a student I have one specific memory that really stands out, especially when deciding what direction I wanted to take professionally. During my time at Kent State I was a summer camp counselor, it was here I met a young boy attending the camp who had quite a few behavior and emotional problems. I remember how often the other counselors and even campers mentioned how hard it was to be around this child among other negative comments. I recall feeling very upset about their comments and how they did not even attempt to understand the very real reasons behind this child’s behavior and outbursts. I ended up having a meeting with his mom and we came up with a plan that this child ended up thriving in and he had a great rest of the summer. It was this summer that I decided that I would love to work with children in this setting and make sure they know they have someone rooting for them.
Going off the formative memory I just shared, I find a problem in the education system is the lack of resources schools often have for children who are needing accommodations. Often times schools do not have the proper staff who are trained in order to help children who operate outside the realm of “typical”. Such as oftentimes there are not a lot of help in classrooms that can help children with behavior, intellectual or emotional issues, they are typically put into other classrooms if there is any help. I find the funding is likely the issue that the education system is struggling with, which in turn negatively impacts students. I am hoping as we progress the education system we can provide not only more accommodations but more effective ones as well.
Dear Dr. Shutkin,
I have a couple questions for you. First, what is your favorite memory? (Education wise or other). Also, if you were not teaching and employed in the education system, what else would you be doing? I know you mentioned activism, is that something you would want to do full time if you could?