Christina Psencik '13
Christina graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in Fall 2013. She received her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education and earned her teaching certification in Early Childhood-4th Grade. She told us, "I can remember walking the stage in December on a Sunday. That next day, I had 2 interviews. On Thursday of that same week, I was teaching. It was that quick! I have UIW to thank!" Christina is currently in her 11th year of teaching as a Head Start Teacher in the San Antonio area and she still teaches in the same school where she began her teaching career.
Catching Up with Cardinals
Christina Psencik '13
Dreeben School of Education
Friday, January 5, 2023
Q: Can you share the moment you realized that you wanted to be a teacher?
A: I can remember stepping foot into a Pre-K classroom and observing some students playing “paleta man” in the dramatic center. The students were engaged in cooperative play and the dialogue between them was amazing. I couldn’t believe children at that age could be so descriptive. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of their world, a part of their discovery and learning of it.
Q: How did the UIW Teacher Education program help prepare you for your role as a teacher?
A: UIW gave me opportunities to observe several classrooms in different districts. I had a chance to see “real world teaching” and connect with those educators. Also, the rigorous coursework in the UIW teacher program grew my critical thinking skills. This ability is necessary when dealing with all the facets of teaching.
Q: What is your favorite memory from the Teacher Education program at UIW?
A: I love the connections I made with other pre-service teachers in my cohort. We shared the experience of stepping forward into the teaching realm. We confided in each other about the stresses, day-to-day happenings and the victories we underwent. I felt safe.
Q: How long have you been working in education?
A: I have been with my district for a total of 13 years, including 2 years as an instructional assistant while I attended the UIW graduate program (elementary education). I am currently in my 11th year as a teacher.
Q: Tell us about your current position/job.
A: I am currently a Head Start monolingual teacher. I am fortunate enough to be at the same school where I began my teaching career and all my years in teaching have been in early childhood. Because of this, I furthered my education once again and completed a graduate program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, focusing on early childhood education in 2023.
Q: What do you love the most about your current job?
A: I love that I have been able to serve multiple families. Through the years, I have taught
siblings, cousins and neighbors of this community. It has been wonderful seeing families grow and thrive as the years pass.
Q: What helps you avoid job burnout?
A: I always make sure to take charge of my well-being. This includes monitoring the school workload I take home, separating school time versus my personal family time. I do my best to get rest daily, ask for help from colleagues when needed and prioritize my school duties.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in teaching?
A: I would encourage anyone considering a career in education to become a substitute teacher. This would allow them to step into different grade levels, specialties, and districts. There are so many differences between grade levels and the age range of students, including the academic content you must teach, the social/emotional maturity of students and level of parent involvement the campus requires.
Q: What are your career goals for the next five years?
A: I would love to move outside of the classroom and support teachers (pre-service or current) in early childhood education. I have been thinking about a few different avenues, like becoming an education specialist, a clinical teaching supervisor or even an adjunct professor at the college level. Either way, my heart will still be in education.