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Teacher Appreciation Week: Maddie Heaton and Teri Weisensel

Maddie Heaton
Teri Weisensel and Maddie Heaton at Boise High School

The Teacher Education program at Boise State prepares future teachers like Maddie Heaton (BA, English Teaching, ’24) through a professional year experience in community classrooms. Boise State partners with schools to pair each candidate with a mentor teacher, who provides a hands-on teaching experience in their classroom. Working with mentor teachers, candidates gain real-world experience necessary to successfully teach P-12 students in their own classrooms after graduation.

Teri Weisensel has been teaching at Boise High School for 23 years. Her English classroom is set up with large tables, where students face each other to collaborate. The large vent fan that sits above the classroom is adorned with construction paper eyes and a mouth, making light of the loud noise it emits.

This past academic year, Weisensel served as Heaton’s mentor teacher and the two developed a positive rapport from the start.

“We work really well as thinking partners,” said Heaton. “We bounce ideas off of each other.”

“For me, it’s also really nice to have another grown up in the room,” said Weisensel. “When you’ve done this for years and years like I have, it’s really great to have not only a thinking partner, but moral support as well.”

Weisensel initially didn’t want to become a teacher because in her youth women were often pigeonholed into what were considered feminine careers.

“When I was a little kid, I said there were two things I was never going to be – a nurse or a teacher,” said Weisensel.

Weisensel went to law school out of college, and though she excelled, her heart wasn’t in it. When one of her trusted professors suggested she would be a good teacher, she decided to give it a shot. From there, she never looked back.

In contrast, Heaton wanted to teach for as long as she can remember.

“I have two younger brothers, so I’ve always had a sort of leader role in my family,” said Heaton. “I remember making them play school from a really young age over the summer.”

Teacher Education scholarships support students like Heaton in their final year, when working outside of classroom obligations is challenging. In addition to student teaching, Heaton works at the Boise State Testing Center, and scholarships provide flexibility she wouldn’t otherwise have.

“I have had to work since I was a freshman in high school, so trying to balance work and school going into this year has been difficult,” said Heaton. “Scholarships have allowed me more flexibility in that way.”

Boise State is honoring teacher education alumni like Maddie Heaton during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-10, 2024. To help future teachers, you can give to Teacher Education scholarships at the link below.

Give to Teacher and Early Education Scholarships