Activism is an important part of junior Mallory Burris’s plans for a future classroom. It’s also an big part of her life at IU. Burris is from Spencer, Indiana, and is in the Teaching All Learners program, but her studies aren’t the only part of school that keeps her busy. While studying at the School of Education, she’s served as the president of the IU-Bloomington chapter of the Indiana Student Education Association (ISEA). She recently won the ISEA J.D. Miller Outstanding Local Student Leader Award, and she’s been elected to be president of the ISEA next year.
Burris will spend her senior year at McCormick’s Creek Elementary School in Spencer, Indiana, where she’ll work in special education and third and fourth grade. She hopes to work in special education in the future and says her goal is to help her students become active, democratic citizens.
“I want to do a lot of activist work within my classroom. I want to provide my students with knowledge and allow them to perform their opinions,” Burris said. “My classroom will be very student lead, lots of projects. It won’t be a quiet classroom.”
Burris was inspired to go into special education by her mother who has a learning disability. In high school, Burris worked with students with learning disabilities, and when she arrived at IU, it was as a first-generation college student.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going into college,” she said. “I thought when I was in high school I knew everything, but then when I got here It was just a new experience. I had to really get out of my comfort zone, especially when it came to leadership roles.”
Leadership roles such as being involved in ISEA has helped shape how she approaches teaching.
“Teaching is a skill you constantly have to grow,” Burris remarked. “You can’t be afraid to make mistakes and see how you can grow from them. Don’t be afraid to do a project because it seems too difficult. Make those mistakes so you can learn from them early.”