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Katie Hogan is a founding teacher at Social Justice High School and has taught English there for the past six years. In 2011, Hogan graduated from the UIC College of Education summa cum laude with a MEd in Youth Development. Hogan coaches her school’s Academic Decathlon team, and runs a service learning club called SOJO SERVES, dedicated to helping students work to improve the school environment and the community. Hogan is also a published author in multiple academic journals about educational issues, and was recently featured in the graphic novel To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (2011). She talks with Communications Director Eva Moon.
What do you think this program gives you that you couldn't find anywhere else?
The expertise of Dr. Stacey Horn. She is truly a gifted teacher, researcher, and advocate for youth. Having experienced what it's like to teach and learn at multiple universities I would put her and the way she runs the program at the very top of my list. She manages to balance rigor, relevance, and best practices all with a strong emphasis on collaboration and becoming research practitioners.
How has being at UIC informed or enhanced your current job?
As a classroom teacher, I have really changed some of my practices to better align with new information I learn about youth development. Those changes may be based on physical development, cognitive, social-emotional, or other areas of interest. Additionally, youth development constantly evolves. Therefore, I feel I am getting to apply the knowledge of being a good youth worker into my teaching practice to become a more holistic educator.
What would you say to someone who was interested in applying for this program? Would you recommend it and why?
I think this program works best for people who do not see the more traditional routes to work with youth as the best option for them. I considered very much a Masters of Education in policy or even English; however, those were areas that I did not find myself being challenged at the graduate level. Youth Development stretches my expertise to look beyond what a typical teacher sees every day and asks a lot of questions about community, environment, policy, and adolescent psychology that are just not discussed at such lengths in other programs.
Which UIC faculty member has most inspired you?
Dr. Gregory Michie who used to be at UIC, and is now at Northeastern has been my greatest ally over these past 14 years I've worked in Chicago Public Schools. He's been there since the beginning. Our friendship has allowed me to grow as a person, and also have professional opportunities to publish and talk around the country. Of course my advisor Dr. Stacey Horn is amazing and inspires not just me, but all of the youth development cohort every day. Dr. Artin Goncu also expanded my vision of how play and imagination can become integral parts of education. He also is one of the smartest and funniest people I've met.
What are three of the most important attributes of a successful school (K-12)?
1. Strong culture and climate that includes a unionized workforce. 2. Strong participation and communication with the parents of the youth and the community the youth are growing up in. 3. The opportunities for all teachers to grow as professionals and take on leadership roles.
What are three of the most important attributes of a successful teacher?
This all depends on what level the teacher comes in at. The most important attributes for me as a novice year 1-3 teacher were very different compared to me now as a teacher with ten years of experience. For beginning teachers the most important attributes are strong knowledge of assessment and evaluation, the ability to apply those assessments in the classroom with daily instruction that is differentiated for each student, and finally a strong sense of self, purpose, and humor.