Meet Krysta Cheong
Thanks to ETSU being the recipient of the $665,887 Integrating Stem and Literacy with Computation in Elementary Education (iSLICEE) grant, senior Krysta Cheong, 21, is one of the 12 ETSU students incorporating computation within STEM curriculum through the student teaching experience. She plans to graduate in May 2020 and will begin her residency in the field of elementary education. Cheong has always known that she wanted to pursue a career with education, and the Morristown native had heard from friends, family and colleagues that ETSU would be the perfect place for her to receive her education.
What campus organizations are you involved in?
I am involved in iSLICEE, a new on-campus program which enables teaching candidates how to incorporate digital learning and teaching skills into the classroom as well as computational thinking and STEM techniques. I am also involved in the honor society Student Tennessee Education Association (STEA), which exists to help our members move smoothly from student on campus to beginning teacher, and in Outdoor Adventure.
What do you love most about ETSU?
I love the location! Everything in the city is at a great walking distance, and it’s in a good area for things like hiking and other fun stuff. It’s a city, but it’s not a big city. I like the small-town feel. Again, I love the hiking trails, especially the Beauty Spot, Buffalo Mountain and Roan Mountain.
How are your courses?
My courses are challenging but really engaging. I really do feel like I’m getting the best education here. We learn from our perspective, a teacher’s perspective, but we’re also learning from our students’ perspectives. We can tell which students learn best in which environments. ETSU education students get a year’s worth of in-class experience, whereas other universities’ students only get six months.
What are your plans for your residency?
I want to get a residency in the Johnson City area, or maybe move closer to Morristown. I’m still open as for where I’ll be doing my residency.
What is a typical day like?
There is some lecture, but most of the classes are interactive activities. Our professors teach us skills and strategies that we can carry with us outside of our classrooms. I have a cohort, a group of education students I have my classes with, and it’s nice having people to talk to and bounce ideas off of. I’ve gained some really great relationships within my cohort, which I can have into my professional career.
What are your career goals?
I want to be a reading specialist, someone who comes into the classroom and helps students with differing skillsets with their literacy. That includes phonics and Response to Intervention (RTI), an approach to identifying and supporting students with learning or behavior needs early on.
What’s something you learned about yourself during your time here?
I learned that I’m really resilient. I have challenges, but I can overcome them through hard work.
Is there anyone you’ve gotten to study under or study with who’s impacted you?
Dr. Chih-Che Tai, definitely. He’s the iSLICEE representative at ETSU. I get to take these different visual learning and teaching tools into my classroom and use those with my students because of him and the iSLICEE program. A lot of the professors in the education program do not only teach from the textbook and recognizable articles, but also teach from their own experiences. A lot of my professors have years of experience in the classroom outside of ETSU. This has greatly impacted me since these professors are drawing from what they have seen to be the most effective teaching methods in today's time.
Do you have any advice to other education students?
I would tell students how important it is to do your work. Not only are you doing activities for your grades but also learning skills to use in your future classroom. Not doing the work, or half-heartedly doing the work, will only hinder you later on.
What have you taken away from your experiences at ETSU?
Just to be open-minded. In the world, there’s always going to be different views from your own.
By Skylar Derrick
ETSU Student Writer