• Alice Franco, '15 MA-Teaching - page

    Alice F. Franco

    It took almost a decade of searching and working in the corporate world before Alice Franco found her life’s purpose by landing in the world of teaching.

    Through a tutoring program, Franco, a current student in Hamline University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, had the opportunity to serve at-risk youth in South Minneapolis.

    “I had my moment of confirmation the first day,” she says. “I figured, if I wanted to gain experience, I needed to continue working in a classroom.”

    Franco continued as a tutor for two years, adding a role as a substitute teacher before accepting a position as a teacher in a private school in Minneapolis, Ascension Catholic School. One of the requirements for this job was that she earn a teaching license from the state.

    Franco had earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology of Law Deviance and Criminology at the University of Minnesota, and because Hamline’s MAT program is designed for students who decide they want to teach after already earning their undergraduate degrees, it was the perfect fit for her. Not to mention, both of her brothers had attended Hamline for their graduate degrees.

    An enthusiastic student, Franco is eager to point out the highlights of the MAT program. She explains that the range of methodologies and strategies for classroom management that Hamline teaches is one of the biggest things she will take with her. She has developed a better understanding of psychology and management techniques that will help her better understand her students.

    Franco believes the most valuable skills she now possesses include how to get to know students, how to understand multiple intelligences, how to encourage teamwork, and how to use imagination.

    “The future teachers in these classes truly want to make a difference and come with an open mind for culturally relevant teaching,” she says. “It feels really great to be surrounded by soon-to-be teachers who think like me, have similar ideologies, and want to change lives.”

    Franco has also been impressed by the faculty’s selflessness, insightfulness, and ability to share years of knowledge with their students.“They truly care that I succeed as a teacher,” she explains. “It’s about more than grading a paper—it’s about providing feedback and guidance to improve my practice.”

    Franco is in her second year of teaching K-8 technology at Ascension Catholic School. In this time, she has helped the school partner with North Side Achievement Zone (NAZ) to teach an after school program, as well as with REVE Academy (North Side) to teach website design to eighth graders.

    The biggest thing Franco has discovered in her transition from the corporate world to becoming a teacher is that she actually gets to put her theory into practice. “What I learn from class each week [are skills] I am able to apply in my classroom the very next day.”