Student Spotlight: Meet Kristina Peterson

May 26, 2022 | Michelle Dzisiak

Kristina Peterson shares her story about becoming a licensed teacher while teaching abroad at an international school

This month, we’re sharing Kristina’s story. Kristina is a graduate of the Teacher Certification Program.

With a life-long passion for teaching, Kristina found herself teaching unlicensed at an international school.

With the desire to further her career and earn her full teaching certification, Kristina enrolled in the Teacher Certification Program.

The alternative educator preparation program gave Kristina the ability to get licensed while continuing her teaching role abroad.

Kristina continues to work as a dedicated and empathetic educator. She is passionate about ensuring that every student can feel successful and is truly a great educator because of it.

“I was already hired as a teacher in an international school that did not require a license. I knew I needed to know more and yet did not want to fully step away from the classroom. This program helped me learn in an immersive setting.”

Let’s dive in to hear about Kristina’s experience with our Teacher Certification Program.

What drew you to pursue a career in teaching? Was this a lifelong dream or a new interest?

I suppose I have been a teacher my whole life, starting with my stuffed animals, then moving into tutoring in high school. I have always known that teaching would be part of my life.

Why did you decide to take an alternative route to become a licensed teacher instead of the traditional education path?

I was already hired as a teacher in an International school that did not require a license. I knew I needed to know more and yet did not want to fully step away from the classroom. This program helped me learn in an immersive setting.

Has your alternate route to certification been manageable while juggling your other responsibilities?

I stayed up a lot of late nights to finish the assignments. For my family, I am glad I went through the alternative route before we had children. I could carve out time for the program while still working full time.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

Philosophical: I enjoyed learning about the broad set of laws that have made the U.S. education system what it is today. Learning about student privacy and their rights to protest was super important to being a good secondary teacher.

Practical: Since I completed the program during the pandemic, all of the online classwork I did was immediately transferable to online and hybrid teaching. I learned to craft purposeful online classroom discussions modeled on those I was participating in with my cohort.

Was there a teacher in your life who inspired you? If so, who was it (first name and level or subject) and what impact did they have on you?

Ms. White my 9th grade English teacher seemed to make every student believe that their contributions were important and sometimes brilliant. I cannot believe a class full of 14-year-olds was really that, so she must have been magic.

What area of teaching are you specializing in? Why did you choose it?

I specialize in secondary math and science. My undergraduate work was in chemistry. I remember other people getting ‘weeded’ out of the program and I always thought anyone could do it - if they had the right teacher. I hope to explain things in ways that every student can feel successful in math and science.

Are you currently working in a teaching capacity? If so, could you tell us a little bit about your experience teaching so far?

Yes. This year I am only working as a substitute teacher in a private school in California. I spent most of this year caring for my 2-year-old.

What is your favorite thing about working with students and/or what is the thing that you’re most looking forward to when you are in a classroom?

I like it when the lesson is particularly challenging but I hear students ‘get it’ as the lesson goes on. I also really like emphasizing empathy in the classroom and seeing when students reach out to be kind and understanding to others.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting certified to teach?

Pair a certification program with some real-world experiences.

Are there any final notes, thoughts, or comments you’d like to add?

Just that for me, the [Teacher Certification] program fit well with my background and style of learning. The assignments were varied, never busywork, and taught me many different assessment formats by experiencing them firsthand.

The pace of the work is intense and you cannot fall behind BUT the deadlines are all clear and the work is assigned in time for you to manage your time.

A huge highlight was the other people in my cohort - there were a range of backgrounds and perspectives and everyone took the program seriously so our discussions were high level.

I appreciate the mentoring I received from my teaching supervisor too. She always had good reflections for me on my teaching and I know I improved over the program. Thank You! 


Are you thinking about becoming a teacher and getting your teaching license online while living abroad?

Start your teaching career from anywhere in the world with Klassroom. Learn more about our online teacher certification program and become a licensed international educator today!

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