• Crystal Kozak
     

Crystal Kozak

  • Program: Early Childhood Education

    Education/Industry Certifications: Master of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Doane College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

    Has Taught at SCC Since: 2007. Prior to that time I served as a Teaching Lab Assistant to the ECED program and Child Development Center. I also worked as a preschool/school age group supervisor in the SCC Child Development Center starting in 1994. I am currently in my 24th year at SCC.

    Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: I have experience teaching in an elementary school setting.

    Describe your teaching philosophy.

    I believe that all students have the ability to learn. Educators must know and understand the student as an individual and find what motivates them before they can successfully teach them.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?

    I honestly never thought I would be teaching on the college level; teaching young children was my passion. After being encouraged to teach ECED courses as an adjunct, I came to enjoy and appreciate the community college student and experience and became hooked! Community college students are so diverse and can bring great variety to the classroom experience.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?

    The ECED program has an excellent group of faculty members who truly know and understand young children and the art of teaching on a variety of levels. Faculty strive to meet the needs of our students and encourage them to be their best and do their best as future educators of young children. We model for our students what we teach them. Being a quality early childhood educator means teaching children in hands-on ways. We bring many hands-on learning experiences to our classrooms so students can fully grasp the importance of that learning in their work with children.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?

    I am involved in the early childhood community by serving on state and local early childhood boards. My previous teaching experiences enable me to give my students a glimpse into what the teaching field is like.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?

    You are a wanted and needed commodity in your community! The field of early childhood needs passionate, qualified, degreed educators to work with our most precious assets, our children! The field of early childhood continues to evolve as a profession that strives to have itself viewed in a professional way. We are educators, NOT babysitters! A degree in early childhood from SCC is valued and respected in our community and state!

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?

    I enjoy and appreciate the variety that our students bring to the classroom. Each day is an opportunity for me to learn from my students and in turn impact my teaching. I’m a firm believer in that each day we learn something new about being a teacher and becoming a better teacher!

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?

    I enjoy the camaraderie that comes from teaching at SCC. I am surrounded by amazing colleagues who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their respective fields that each want to pass on that knowledge to their students.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?

    I have many proud moments as an instructor. Seeing my students grasp that challenging concept and develop their passion to teach young children brings me joy. I have the opportunity to interact with many of our former students while at practicum sites; seeing them stay true to what they have been taught in our program makes me feel proud of what I do each and every day.

    What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?

    Outside of work you will find me at Husker sporting events; I am a die-hard Husker fan! I regularly attend football, volleyball and basketball games. I enjoy cooking, traveling and spending time with my family and friends, as well as being outdoors.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?

    I am proud of my Czech heritage and enjoy being a member of the Wilber-Clatonia Czech Alumni Band percussion section. Our band has well over 200 members from across the country, and during the annual Czech Festival in Wilber (my hometown) we are one of the largest alumni bands in the country! In the summer months you can find me attending local festivals playing polka music with the band.

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