Each year, teacher candidates are able to apply for a PDS undergraduate representative position (PDS Rep) at Buffalo State. Representatives selected through the application and interview process serve a 1.5 year term. They help the PDS organize monthly meetings, prepare for special events such as the annual PDS conference, and assist with orientation. PDS Reps also conduct and present educational research of their choice at the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) conference in the spring - research that can then be presented at future conferences as students continue to build their resumes and professional portfolios.
Serving as a PDS Rep is a rewarding, collaborative, and educational experience through which students build their resumes, develop their teacher candidate voice, and take advantage of opportunities for professional development and networking.
The successful candidate:
Daniel Klein loves the city of Buffalo and, in many ways, this is because of PDS.
Dan came to Buffalo to complete his bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Reading at Buffalo State. As an undergraduate Dan volunteered extensively for PDS, always a face found in the office and extra hands helping at events. He participated in an International PDS program to Germany and is now working on his master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.
Dan has grown to love this city and community while developing relationships in Buffalo’s educational arenas - relationships that would not have been possible without the PDS.
“PDS has given me the chance to connect with others in a way that I would never have expected when I first moved to Buffalo. My hope is that I can provide this to future PDS Reps, so that they understand the care and compassion that was bestowed upon me is waiting for them as well.”
There are plenty of skills to take from PDS, but Dan feels that one of the most important things he developed is confidence in communicating with peers and colleagues. “After being a PDS Rep, you can walk away knowing how to confidently speak amongst a group of peers. Because of PDS, I’m now more confident in myself when speaking to other more experienced educators.”
As someone who has been involved in PDS for some time now, Dan feels great pride in being a part of Buffalo State’s PDS, and looks to include more students so that they can carry on the PDS mission after he graduates. This commitment translates into his future in teaching as well.
“As an educator, I aspire to be a beacon of inspiration and hope for my students.”
Christine Garas welcomes any opportunity that is made available to her. PDS has become a major part of Christine’s educational career as she continues to work toward her goal of obtaining her bachelor’s in Exceptional Education and master’s degree within 5 years.
Because of PDS, Christine feels she is more confident in her own abilities, including speaking to groups of professionals or students, conducting research, and presenting at events such as the National Association for Professional Development Schools conference.
“PDS is an extraordinary resume builder. I feel that when it comes to searching for a job, my experiences and accomplishments as a PDS representative will make me a stronger candidate.”
Christine is motivated by those around her, including her professors, parents and peers. But she says it takes more than motivation to succeed in PDS.
“Becoming a PDS Rep requires a desire to grow. The skills and potential that you enter with continue to build on one another – including skills in leadership, communication, presentation and organization.”
Working as a camp counselor made Christine realize that Allegany State Park is her favorite place to be, but she is also learning to love travel abroad. Last summer she visited Poland, and this summer she will be traveling with International PDS to work in schools in Santiago, Chile. She feels that her fellow PDS Reps have become a sort of support system, leaning on one another in stressful times.
“We have all clicked and bonded exceptionally well and have truly become a family.”
When she isn’t working out to relieve stress, Allison Gunkler is hard at work within PDS. Allison, a master’s student in Special Education, hopes to have a full-time teaching job within the next 5 years. She feels as if PDS has provided her with some of the skills she needs to be a better educator, and to succeed as a PDS representative.
“PDS has shaped me as an educator regarding social skills and allowing me to open my world to different opportunities. To succeed as a PDS representative, teamwork and confidence will help you achieve any goal you have.”
Allison says that knowing that she has an opportunity to change students’ lives and have a positive impact on the world of education is what motivates her everyday. She also looks to her family, the most important thing to her, to provide endless amounts of support. When there is something that her family can’t help her with however, her friends at PDS are always there for her. She thinks of the PDS retreat in September 2016 as one of her best experiences as a PDS Rep.
“The Retreat was the first time we came together as a group and really worked together! Because of PDS, I have met wonderful people that I wouldn’t have known otherwise! I have created amazing friendships through PDS. They are the people that I go to when I need a laugh, hug, or somewhere to vent.”
Allison is grateful for her wonderful PDS relationships and continues to look to the future and opportunities PDS provides.
“I will be forever thankful that I have the chance to be a PDS Rep for SUNY Buffalo State!”
Ji Kang Kim (known as Jay) heard about PDS from her advisor. As an international student from South Korea, she applied to become a PDS representative thinking the experience would help her communicate with staff and students in the childhood education program. While living in a foreign country is a new experience in and of itself, Jay says that being a representative has offered her even more opportunities to grow and experience new things, including attending conferences and events, which has improved her self-confidence.
“Learning new strategies of teaching motivates me to think creatively and makes me more aware of how students will grow up within their education. Personally, I am shy and afraid to stay in groups or talk in front of people. PDS improves my ability to communicate with others. I hope to build relationships with the professors and students in my program.”
As many reps will agree, one of the best parts of PDS is spending time in the office - a space to collaborate and bond with peers. “Honestly, I enjoy the PDS office a lot. I can hear from other reps how their education classes are that I need to take for next semester.”
While involved with PDS, she is also interested in researching how going to school in a foreign country has an impact on students.
Jay understands the importance of relieving stress, especially with a busy routine. Outside of school, Jay enjoys eating Korean food, bowling, chitchatting with friends and watching YouTube. In the future, Jay sees herself getting out of Buffalo and continuing her travels by visiting other countries.
Emily Librock joined PDS for the opportunity to grow as a person and as a teacher. In pursuit of her degree in early childhood and childhood education, she is motivated by all the students she has worked with so far.
“I really enjoy being a voice for other students and continuing to learn in any way I can. My goal is to be the person my students expect me to be. It’s important to me that I can wear many different hats based on the situation - like teacher, advocate, emotional support, or anything else they need.”
Emily can also see how PDS will help her achieve her future goals by allowing her to make connections with the community of schools and educators in the greater Buffalo area.
“These connections will help me to network and find a job, as well as to continue to better myself as an educator. Being in PDS also connects me to a community of students and the local neighborhood, a place where I can volunteer my time to help others.”
Beyond PDS, Emily has been very involved at Buffalo State. She participated in the International PDS program in Germany, as well as Global Book Hour, Kappa Delta Pi, and The National Society of Leadership. In five years, she sees herself working as a literacy specialist in the Buffalo area, while still taking initiative to learn on the job through networking and professional development. A lover of anything outdoors, Emily also sees herself coaching, skiing and volunteering in the community.
“PDS has already helped me to grow my skill set exponentially, however, we’re not done here. The PDS representative position has developed my communication skills, my professionalism, my time management, and my bulletin board skills!”
Joining PDS has given Rachel Nati, who is completing her bachelor’s in Exceptional Education and has been accepted into the master’s in Literacy program, new opportunities in her teaching career. She believes that PDS will assist her in accomplishing her goals because PDS has allowed her to create new relationships with colleagues and to network with local schools and administrators.
Motivated by her own success, Rachel hopes to make strides in her community and become a teacher that can work in an inclusive classroom, maybe within the next 5 years.
“I see myself teaching in an inclusive classroom that contains both students with and without disabilities. The networking skills I am gaining through PDS allow me to communicate in the ‘teaching world’.”
Rachel believes that organization, confidence and an outgoing personality are some traits that one needs to succeed in PDS, and she has no shortage of them! These characteristics have been especially useful in helping her to create new friendships with the peers she has worked with, which she hopes remain for years to come. She is very much looking forward to attending the NAPDS conference in Washington, DC with her peers, another opportunity gained through PDS.
When she isn’t on campus, Rachel enjoys time spent with friends and family, or watching sports live or on television. Being an amazing teacher is something very important to her.
“Family, friends, and education for all children with and without disabilities are all very important to me…as well as being the best teacher I can and allowing myself to see the potential in every child.”
A commitment to the community is an important part of PDS and, due to her many off-campus community experiences, Marilyn Wang has entered the role of PDS Rep prepared to meet this commitment.
Volunteering and helping those in need have become a big part of Marilyn’s life. She enjoys serving meals, distributing clothing and food to the homeless, or spending time reading with students and sees that many of the traits present in her volunteer work are easily applicable to being a teacher.
“Hard work, understanding, ambition, and patience…I believe that those four characteristics are the core traits needed to become a successful teacher.”
While these four traits are core to success, Marilyn also believes that success takes commitment, especially in those who wish to be an advocate in the PDS. She has developed a support system that helped guide her with her college career and life in general and is proud to call her PDS peers ‘friends and colleagues’.
“In order to succeed as a PDS Rep, you have to be committed into growing as a professional and to gain experiences and opportunities that PDS has to offer. You gain friends who provide an amazing support system and you get to know faculty who care and encourage you to be the best person you can be.”
In five years, Marilyn hopes to be full-time teaching in an inclusive elementary classroom while she finishes a master’s degree. She is motivated to reach these goals by her parents who, despite not having the easiest life, have always pushed her to achieve her dreams. Their encouragement has led Marilyn to develop skills and experiences in PDS, including research, presenting at a national conference, and networking with professionals in the field.
“My parents always motivate me to do well in school and pursue my passion in teaching. When my mom developed ALS a few years ago, it became harder on my dad who supports my family alone financially. This hasn’t stopped my parents from encouraging me to finish college and going after what I want in life."
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