Joseph knows just how unpredictable those challenges can be. She once worked at a special summer camp for educational enrichment in Memphis, Tennessee. In the middle of a lesson one morning, a frustrated student lashed out at her.
“I admit I wasn’t quite ready for that when it happened. It was definitely a scarring experience," Joseph said.
With this experience as a frame, Joseph dove into subjects such as classroom management, student-teacher communication and crisis intervention, asking her professors about every possible scenario and outcome. Now, she feels infinitely more prepared to deal with chaotic events as they happen.
“The big difference is that now I have a lot more theory and practical experience to call upon to back up my actions,” she said.
A course dedicated to diversity in education has also given Joseph the tools to address an issue that is very personal to her. An African-American, she grew up in a predominantly white suburban area of New Jersey where she attended elementary school. Despite her eagerness to learn, she found herself at times struggling to connect with what she felt in hindsight was a narrowly focused curriculum developed for her Caucasian classmates.