Hamline News

Finding a Purpose: Libby Otto


At Hamline University, students don’t just get a degree. Students who build upon their passions, explore their field, and cultivate their skills both inside and outside the classroom are on the fast track to success, and finding their purpose.

One such student, Libby Otto ’14, discovered her purpose by gaining field experience through student teaching, and putting her education into action. As an undergraduate student, Otto had always been passionate about education, but she had doubts about whether or not teaching was the right path for her to pursue.

Otto says Hamline helped reaffirm her decision to become a teacher by offering numerous real-world classroom opportunities during her first year studying English and secondary education. Experiences such as observing classrooms, creating tests, aiding teachers in the field, and mock teaching opportunities are key elements of Hamline’s education major coursework.

“I was able to see what does and doesn't work in a classroom, how to shift the lesson plan to make improvements, and spend time with administrators throughout the school day to get an inside perspective,” Otto said.

By participating in these activities, Otto was able to expand her teaching skills and begin to picture herself in the role she hoped to call her profession one day.

Having finally solidified her desire to become a teacher, Otto became involved with a student teaching position in the Harding School system, working with more than 150 students for a 12 week period. This experience helped prepare Otto to engage and make a difference in her community by utilizing what she had already learned and applying it to real-world situations.

“Many schools do not offer clinical experience during the first year,” Otto said. “This allowed me to confirm earlier rather than later that I was on the right degree path for me."