July 18, 2023

Lindsey Smith

Elementary Education, MAT ’22

Inspired initially by her desire to support young students in their academic journeys, Lindsey Smith found not only her passion for social change, but also a lifelong community of mentors and advisors at Lewis & Clark.

Lindsey Smith Lindsey Smith, Elementary MAT ’22, is no stranger to the challenges many young students face in the classroom. As a child, she was a late reader and remembers how those struggles impacted her. Inspired by her personal experiences, Lindsey worked in Montessori classrooms prior to beginning her studies at Lewis & Clark, building a strong constructivist background.

“I’ve always loved working with children. My experience as a private preschool and kindergarten teacher inspired me to seek a position in public education. I love to support children in their early reading, writing, and mathematical journeys, as well as supporting their early efforts to form a classroom community.”

As a conscious and considerate educator she had always seen social justice as essential to the classroom experience, however struggled to find ways to put such “abstract ideas” into practice. She was looking for support to become a more “courageous” educator.

That support was immediately evident within Lewis & Clark. Ultimately, it was L&C’s commitment towards “social change and their reputation for producing thoughtful classroom teachers” that made the MAT Elementary program her home.

“All of my classes have focused, either partially or entirely, on how to make education more equitable. I’ve learned both theory and practice for how to break down educational barriers and how to make my teaching practice more culturally responsive.”

The program was rigorous, especially given the constraints of operating during a Global Pandemic, yet Lewis & Clark’s cohort model made class and work feel more like “social time”; many of Smith’s peers and mentors became close friends. She recalls days when they practiced classroom community-building outside, all laughing as they explored new strategies in the sun.

“My cohort has been my greatest support system throughout a challenging year and we collaborate on every assignment. I’ve never felt like I was doing something truly on my own. We share our triumphs and failures as we learn to be strong teachers.”

Any educator tirelessly fighting for social justice will know it is no easy feat. However, with the support of her classmates and professors, Smith found both moral and academic support amongst the challenges.

“What’s best about the faculty of the Elementary MAT Program is that they are available as mentors and advisors long after we’ve graduated. Your community at Lewis & Clark will be your community forever.”

Now as a professional educator, Smith looks back at her experience in the classroom and feels a sense of pride when she remembers the moments she made things “click” for her students. She also notes that finding the right teacher placement for your practicum is important—you should feel supported, yet also have room to grow.

As a new cohort enters this coming year, Smith encourages all new students to be open minded and remember that there is always so much to learn. Lewis & Clark can be a home-away-from-home, and a community of support for years to come.