Graduate Profile - Phoebe Fisher-Dibblee
Name: Phoebe Fisher-Dibblee
Graduation Year: 2013
Major and Degree (and minor, if applicable): Art Education Certification at Millersville University.
Why did you choose Millersville University?
I chose Millersville because of the excellent reputation of its education program. Millersville also appealed to me because of its proximity to my home and its affordability. As a post-bachelor student, those were two essential considerations.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
I did not always want to be a teacher. My high school experience was not idyllic, and I did not see myself holding a career in the public school setting. After high school I pursued my passion for the arts, receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2008. During that time I experienced growth in my understanding of art and what it means to be an artist, as well as many other areas of learning.
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in teaching?
After graduating from college during the beginning of the recession, I struggled to find gainful means of employment. I also had a family to support, so I took a job working in the retail industry, using my creative skills in a very limited way. This was a time of searching and reflection for me, and over the course of the next two years I realized that I did not want to allocate my passion and talents to the back-burner of my life in order to earn a living. I also knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted the work I did on a daily basis to amount to a positive change in individuals and on the world at large, and this led me naturally to teaching.
Where are you teaching now?
I am an art teacher at Palmyra Area High School. I was hired in July 2014, so I am currently in the throes of my first year.
Did you feel well prepared for your teaching position?
I feel as well prepared for my teaching position as someone in their first position could!
How do you feel Millersville contributed to your preparedness?
Millersville’s art education program is second to none with Leslie Gates coordinating the department. I think one of the greatest aspects of my educational experience at Millersville was that I learned there is not necessarily one right way to teach. I appreciated the exposure to multiple philosophies and possibilities for educational methods and pedagogy. It was invaluable to have seen the big picture of what education can be and the ability to be flexible in a given situation rather than to have left with a collection of highly detailed lesson plans (though I do have a few of those as well).
Of course, student teaching was absolutely essential to my success. It was the chance to try some of the approaches to education that I had learned about within the safety of an established classroom environment. I learned untold knowledge from my cooperating teachers during that semester, and I am so grateful for their collaboration with Millersville University.
Did you hold any jobs between graduation and landing your position?
During the school year between my certification and my current employment, I worked as a substitute teacher with Substitute Teacher Services. I subbed in many districts throughout the Lancaster and Harrisburg area and in a variety of grade levels and subjects.
How did the jobs contribute to your professional life?
Substituting was one of the most challenging jobs I have ever had. It certainly helped me to remain flexible under unpredictable circumstances and over time it gave me the confidence to meet any challenge. It was also very helpful in the growth of my classroom management skills and the ability to observe the classrooms and organization of a wide variety of educators.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching?
My favorite aspect of teaching is knowing that I get to share what I know and love with young people each and every day, and my hope is that I will ignite that spark of passion in my students as well.
Were you a part of any clubs or organizations during your time at MU?
As a post-baccalaureate commuter student, I was not involved with any clubs or organizations during my time at MU.
Do you have any heroes or a quote you like to live by?
As a Christian, I strive to live my life as Christ each day. I think that compassion is an essential quality to posses and hone when you work with people, particularly young people, and Jesus Christ is the ultimate example to follow.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students at MU looking for teaching jobs?
Cherish every case study you write about for the course you take in differentiation while student teaching! Review each “Appendix A” you have ever written before interviewing because it will give you real life experiences to refer to while speaking and can often be woven into the answers to many questions. You will be able to articulate your experiences well because you have already written about them and spoken about them at length for the class.