Meet Laura Bigby

Clinical Instructor
Clara Barton Elementary School

I became a teacher because I truly enjoy being around kids, and knew that as a teacher, I could be a positive influence on children’s lives. I was especially drawn to working with children from low-income communities because I believe they deserve a quality education, and don’t always have the opportunity to receive one.

I chose to be a clinical instructor with UChicago UTEP because it makes me a better teacher. When I share my classroom with a resident, it forces me to think much more deeply about what I do and why—from how I manage the classroom to how I teach a lesson. I put more thought into my decisions because I am trying to model and explain my practice to my resident at the same time. I also benefit enormously from UChicago UTEP’s professional development. I’ve learned about inquiry-driven instruction, balanced literacy, and guided math, and was supported when implementing those practices in my classroom.

It’s not easy to be a teacher in an urban setting; many new teachers burn out and quit because they were not prepared for the many situations that come their way. But UChicago UTEP graduates are prepared because they’ve already spent a year in an urban school. As for me, I think having a UChicago UTEP resident in my classroom is a valuable asset. They come into the classroom with a wealth of strategies, skills, and theories that they are eager to put into practice. I have learned something from every resident I’ve ever had.