It’s not every day you hear someone say they love doing homework, but Sydney Ringel ’22 says homework is her life. The inclusive elementary and special education major has always felt comfortable in school, and she’s determined to pass that on to future generations.
In Syracuse University’s School of Education , Ringel is especially focused on how students interact with each other and what helps them succeed. “Studying inclusive education was a priority for me because I want to ensure that every student is valued and accepted in my classroom,” says the Marlboro, New Jersey, native.
Her favorite subject to teach? Math. “I can't wait to teach math in my classroom,” Ringel says. “I think it's fun, and hopefully the kids will be as excited as I am. And if they're not, well, we'll figure out a way to make that happen.”
A Strong Foundation in the Classroom
When she first visited Syracuse University, Ringel was immediately drawn to the warm, energetic campus community. “There was a marching band and tailgating and it looked like so much fun,” she recalls. She found the School of Education particularly impressive because of its thoughtful introduction to the teaching experience: Students spend time in elementary classrooms during their first year to get comfortable before they begin student teaching.
Now a junior, Ringel has had firsthand student teaching experiences in two local elementary schools. “The courses I’ve taken have prepared me to teach a multitude of students and to support every student in their learning,” she says. “I can advocate for students because my training has given me the tools and experiences to do so.”
In addition to her formal teacher training, Ringel has helped early readers develop their skills through a local Book Buddies program, and she spent the past five summers working at a sleepaway camp for children with self-esteem issues. She also volunteers as a tutor in an undergraduate math class, which has boosted her confidence speaking in front of groups.
The School of Education promotes values like inclusivity and acceptance, which make a big difference for children in the classroom.—Sydney Ringel
Next fall, Ringel will be part of the Bridge to the City program, which gives aspiring educators the chance to student teach in New York City schools. She’ll sharpen her skills in a special education classroom and in a general education or inclusive classroom setting. She’s excited to gain experience with new tools and resources that will influence her teaching practices in the future—and she’s looking forward to living in New York.
When she earns her teaching degree, Ringel says she wants every student to feel like they’re an asset to the classroom and hopes to foster a lifelong love of learning in her students. One way she plans to accomplish this is by finding alternative ways to explain subject material, as she did when tutoring a fourth grader who was struggling with mathematical place values. “I created a pictorial model that allowed us to discuss the topic in a visual way, and the student loved it because it helped her to see how it works,” Ringel explains. “Instead of using pen and paper or a computer, we used another mode of learning, and it enhanced her understanding.”
The Experience of a Lifetime
Ringel’s experience at Syracuse was made possible by the School of Education’s Leadership Scholarship , which is awarded to high-achieving, motivated and passionate student leaders. “If I didn’t get the scholarship, I wouldn’t be here. It’s given me opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. I'm so fortunate for it, because Syracuse University is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Says Ringel, who is also president of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education.
She believes it’s important for donors to give back through scholarships, which give students like her access to an exceptional education and enable them to give back by making an impact. “The School of Education promotes values like inclusivity and acceptance, which make a big difference for children in the classroom.”
As someone who thoroughly enjoyed her own transition to college, Ringel now serves as a resource to other first-year students. The Renée Crown University Honors Program student serves as a peer advisor in the School of Education, where she mentors first-year students, assists at the orientation, and represents the school at recruitment events. She’s especially excited to share the experiences she’s had with faculty. “They truly care about every student and are there to support and challenge us,” she says.
Ringel is proud to count herself among students living the Orange experience, just like she saw when she first stepped onto campus for a visit. “Being Orange means being part of a family and a network of people who care about each other,” she explains. “I've never met so many people who are so spirited and genuinely happy to be here and to be a part of this community.”