Friday, May 13, 2022
Victoria Burd to begin career as teacher in Ewing High School’s special classes program
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
Senior Victoria Burd is determined to make an impact on the world of special education. This fall, she will begin a full-time, tenure track position as a social studies teacher in Ewing High School’s special classes program.
“I have a step brother who has special needs so seeing how the system worked made me want to join it and make it better,” she says.
Burd, a secondary education and history double major, is well aware of the headlines surrounding her intended profession; but, they do not dissuade her. Recently, a study by the National Education Association said 55% of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned.
“After my first year at Rider, I realized this is exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. “Even after my first field experience, I knew that education, despite all the warnings, was something that made me feel fulfilled.”
Beginning her sophomore year, Burd has had a fieldwork experience or student teaching experience each semester, at times having as many as three at once. Most recently, she was a student teacher at Ewing High School from February to April. Working with her cooperating teacher, she found instilling confidence in her students was one of the most important lessons she could teach them.
“In the beginning of the year, they may be telling me, ‘I can’t do this’ and now they don’t say any of those comments any more, which is very fulfilling,” she says. “It makes me feel like I’m doing my job as an educator. For me, a successful year is when students develop that kind of self confidence in themselves and challenge themselves, raising the bar a little higher every time.”
A successful year is when students develop that kind of self confidence in themselves and challenge themselves, raising the bar a little higher every time.”
While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, completing fieldwork and participating in organizations, Burd worked anywhere from 25-40 hours per week to support herself. She moved out at 18 to attend Rider, living in the same apartment for four years. This fall, she balanced six classes while working at Starbucks in Hopewell, New Jersey. Most of her days began at 3:30 a.m.
“Doing that while balancing extracurriculars, which were also at night, definitely wasn’t easy, but I get to be here at the end of it and graduate and say I’ve done everything I wanted to do at college,” she says.
The day after graduation, she will be studying abroad — an experience she never thought she’d have the opportunity to do — in Denmark and Sweden for 10 days. There, she will visit different schools and learn about the countries’ education systems.
Burd served as co-president of Rider’s history club, public relations chair and vice president of Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honors society, and was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, an American history honors society. She is a three-time Andrew J. Rider Scholar, representing the top 1% of her academic college. She earned the Koppelman Scholar Award, the John Lewis Student Essay Award, the Levine Phi Alpha Theta Award, the Levine History Research Prize and The Gary A. Carskaddan History Prize. She is a nominee for the 2022 New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Award. The award from the New Jersey Department of Education recognizes the year's 15 top graduates of educator preparation programs in the state's colleges and universities.
Burd says Rider’s education and history programs have prepared her tremendously for her career. Even after she accepted her job at Ewing, she continued to field multiple offers.
“The history department and the education department at Rider have truly some of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life.” she says. “Being able to start the first semester of sophomore year and being able to experience five or six experiences at different school districts, both in person and virtual, was incredible. Other schools don’t have those opportunities. Practice and experience is what gets you good at your job.”