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December 20, 2022

Student Spotlight: Lily Sluk’22, ‘24 (Childhood and Special Education, Literacy)

“I want to give my students whatever they need to be successful. Some days, that could be a really great math intervention and other days it could be a hug and a listening ear.”

Lily Sluk

Where do you work? What do you love about working there?

Longridge Elementary as a third grade co-teacher.

Our classroom is an integrated co-taught classroom, meaning half of our students have IEPs (Individualized Educational Plan) and the other half do not.

My co-teacher and I work together to plan lessons and ensure that the curriculum is accessible to all of our students. Having two teachers in a classroom also helps us give our students more differentiated instruction and give each student what they need.

How do you use your Roberts education to inform your current career?

One thing I love about Roberts undergrad program is how incredibly practical the courses are.

Almost every class gave me hands-on experience practicing the concepts I was learning about.

Right now, the biggest thing that has informed my career has been the instruction I received about differentiating instruction. I teach 3rd grade, but my students’ skill sets range between Kindergarten and 4th grade.

Differentiation is something that I must do every day to support my students and I consistently lean on what I learned at Roberts and how differentiation was modeled to me.

Lily Sluk

Why did you choose the Master’s of Literacy? How is the program stacking up against your expectations so far?

I chose the Master’s of Literacy because I love teaching literacy, and I also really enjoy Dr. Stevens’s teaching style and she runs the program.

I knew I would get to work with professors I loved and the setup of classes would be very familiar to me.

One thing that also sparked my interest was the fact that the program is fully online. I could not find any other programs that gave me a Master’s in Literacy for 30 credits at an affordable cost and K-12 certification.

Roberts checked all my boxes and I am loving the literacy program so far. My professors are great and I love the practical assignments I am given.

What’s the most helpful thing you learned at Roberts?

Engage in what you are passionate about.

We were constantly encouraged to go into our community and practice what we had passions for. This is something that I am continuously doing in my job as a teacher and trying to inspire my students to do as well.

I want to help my students find the things they are passionate about and go do them. I want them to find confidence and bravery to take risks and make a difference in the world.

Lily Sluk

What gets you out of bed in the morning and into the classroom? What is your favorite thing about teaching?

I am very passionate about teaching to the whole student.

Academics are very important to me; however, I also care about my students’ personal wellbeing. I want to give my students whatever they need to be successful.

Some days, that could be a really great math intervention and other days it could be a hug and a listening ear.

My job is to care for and support my students and that doesn’t just stop at academics.

Was there a professor whose efforts stood out to you?

Specifically Dr. Driskill, Dr. Stevens, and Dr. Quinlan were inspirations to me as educators.

Lily Sluk

They each truly cared about their students and genuinely wanted us to succeed.

They were people that I knew I could go to about anything and they made me feel welcomed in their classrooms.

If you could help everyone understand one thing, what would it be and why?

I would help everyone understand that every person has different strengths and areas of growth and no one should ever be judged for those areas.

Far too often I have seen people shy away from their passions because they are still growing in that area and others see it as a weakness. Every person should be able to pursue their passion and should not be judged for trying new things.

I always want my students to take risks and try things they might not have a strength in. It is part of growing and becoming a better person.

Faculty Feedback

Kristen Driskill

"Lily was definitely born to teach. I've been blessed to watch her grow throughout her time at Roberts, and I am so proud of the teacher she has become. She not only possesses all of the skills necessary to be an effective teacher, but she has the heart for it as well. She shows how much she cares about students as she interacts with them, and they, in turn, not only learn but thrive. She's still relatively new to Longridge Elementary, but she's already doing great things for kids!"

-Dr. Kristen Driskill, Associate Professor of Education

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