Student Spotlight: Margaret (Maggie) Bader

Student Spotlight: Margaret (Maggie) Bader

By Maggie Bader
1. What makes you want to be a teacher?
I like to tell people I didn't decide to be a teacher, I just one day realized it. Through high school and college, I noticed more and more that a common thread in all I enjoyed doing and studying was education. I enjoyed and felt energized by it. Growing up, my parents frequently told me this one quote: "Your vocation in life is where your great joy meets the world's great need." I think that sums it up - as I've spent more time studying education, I've learned more about the educational inequities and needs within and beyond my communities. Simultaneously, I've discovered a feeling of joy and belonging that I uniquely get when I'm teaching.

2. Why did you choose Northwestern University’s MSEd Program?
I initially chose Northwestern for 2 reasons: (1) I wanted to stay in the Chicago area, and (2) I loved how the MSEd program balances theory with practice in a deep, meaningful way without watering down either side. But then after I got in, I attended a visit day where I met the SESP community. Everyone I encountered, whether a fellow admit or a current student/faculty member, was so genuine and kind and energized for education work. There was a palpable sense of authenticity, community, and shared purpose that I was excited to be around. After I called my Mom on the way home to discuss the visit, she told me, "I asked you about the program and the events, and you couldn't stop talking about the people." That's when I knew Northwestern was definitely it. 

3. What were you doing prior to starting at Northwestern?
I grew up in the DC area and then attended the University of Chicago where I studied both math and comparative human development. I fell in love with education and Chicago and education in Chicago during that time, and I graduated (just in time to avoid online spring quarter!) this past March.

4. What are your career goals?
I want to teach middle school math. I love math and I deeply care about the early adolescent experience. For me, these two are connected: the skills developed in middle school math classes - learning how to think about abstract concepts, untangle their relationships, and communicate your own thinking to others - are skills that can be helpful for handling  the anxieties and changes that often arrive in middle school!

5. How would you describe your Northwestern classes? Your professors?
My professors have truly been incredible. They all have years of direct experience that they draw upon during conversations and lectures, yet they clearly see us as capable young adults who they care about, believe in, and are excited to learn alongside. I've been fortunate to have some incredible teachers in my life, but having an incredible teacher in every single class I'm taking - that's something I'm trying not to take for granted.

6. Are there any particularly memorable moments from within the classroom at Northwestern you would like to share?
I haven't had any in-person classes yet since I started this past summer, but I've enjoyed seeing how the professors have adapted our projects for a virtual format. In my high school math methods course, we each presented a lesson launch, and it was fun to see how people incorporated zoom tools into their launch - like the whiteboard feature, the chat function, or screen reactions. People aren't just dealing with the virtual context - they're making the most of it!

7. What are you most excited about for student teaching? What are you most nervous about?
I'm excited to be (fingers crossed by next winter) in a real classroom again! It's so energizing to have that face to face interaction and see students exploring, puzzling, and discovering in real time. I honestly don't feel nervous...actually, wait - I'm nervous about early wakeups & a commute. I am not a morning person.

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