Faculty You Should Know: Sarah Montgomery
Teaching students how to have a valuable and lasting impact as teachers is one aspect of teaching that assistant professor of curriculum and instruction Sarah Montgomery concerns herself with most. As a former elementary school teacher and now college professor, Montgomery is making an impact with her students.
Montgomery has a passion for service learning. She coordinated a partnership with an urban elementary school, directed a reading tutoring program and most recently was involved with Books Without Borders.
"Hearing from former students and knowing that I've played a pivotal role in their development as a teacher and subsequently their students' learning brings me great joy."
Montgomery is equally passionate about service learning. According to Montgomery, service learning is the integration of community service with academic content and reflection. It's a teaching strategy that engages students through experiential learning and promotes active citizenship.
Montgomery coordinated a service-learning partnership with an urban elementary school for three years. Later, while working on her master's degree, she directed a reading tutoring program that involved 30 undergraduate and graduate students who tutored students in kindergarten through sixth grade at a local library.
Her most recent project was Books Without Borders. This was a collaboration between Montgomery's class and students at Wartburg College, Cedar Falls High School and Waterloo East High School to write and illustrate bilingual children's books for orphanages in Panama and Haiti. As a result, approximately 300 books were sent to orphanages to support the literacy development of children.
Along with her husband, who is a Spanish professor at Wartburg, Montgomery is raising her 18-month-old son Xavier to be bilingual. This pushes her to become more proficient in Spanish every day. "I want to work to become increasingly culturally competent by participating in diverse life experiences." Montgomery and her husband also enjoy taking Xavier to music and swimming classes on UNI's campus.
With a love for traveling, it's no surprise that Montgomery studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, while getting her bachelor's degree. She pushes her students to have a similar experience by studying or teaching internationally.
Her experiences working in an urban elementary school and early childhood center in France inspired her to do what she does today. "By moving into higher education, I sensed that I could potentially have a larger impact on young learners as a teacher educator and researcher."
Montgomery wants her students to learn that this is a demanding and rewarding profession. "The choices we make about how we teach and interact with students truly matter and can make a lasting impact."