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My name is Andrew Mickunas.

I am currently in the MST (Master of Science in

Teaching) program at Drake University and am also completing a reading endorsement. I
am currently student teaching at Phillips Elementary and will be certified to teach
Elementary (K-8) in May. Prior to attending Drake, I received my BS (Bachelor of
Science) in Psychology from the University of Iowa. It is my goal to be a teacher, and
this is a portfolio that highlights some of my accomplishments thus far.
I decided to become a teacher due to my sincere love of learning. I have always felt my
best when in the classroom. Being a student has empowered and enlightened me.
Because of this, I know from personal experience that the classroom can positively
transform a persons life. Also, nothing makes me feel richer than seeing the expression
on a childs face immediately after that child has made a genuine discovery. Curiosity,
knowledge, and creativity are the currencies that I value most. Thus, as a teacher I will
feel rich every day. I wish to share this passion with my students. I believe that becoming
a classroom teacher will be an extension of the joy I receive as a student.
I have had manifold experiences with children and learning that will empower me as a
teacher. Prior to moving back to Des Moines, as an undergraduate at the University of
Iowa, I worked for over three years in a psychological laboratory that extensively studied
the mother-child relationship. Additional psychological research that I conducted at Iowa
focused on how mothers communicate with children spatially and this work eventually
reached publication in Developmental Psychology. During this time at Iowa I spent a
great deal of time observing parents and their children while completing behavioral
coding. Through this experience I was able to glean what makes these relationships
positive and functional and what can disrupt them. I believe this will help guide the
relationships that I form with students as a teacher.
While working on my Masters at Drake, I spent a year at the Downtown Elementary
School in Des Moines as their AmeriCorps Service Member. This role focused on the
promotion of literacy and mathematics development within the school. This experience
allowed me to witness a whole school year, absorb and utilize certain techniques used by
the teachers at this school, and form an extremely positive relationship with the school. I
have also worked for the Science Center of Iowa for over two years in numerous roles.
Currently, I am a regular presenter of programs and their coordinator of monthly Star
Parties. My passion for space and everything else scientific is endless. Working at the
Science Center has bolstered my knowledge of science and has taught me how to engage
students through the use of questions.
While at Drake I have had many practicum experiences. Through each experience, my
understanding of what a classroom can look and feel like has been expanded. I have
observed many different approaches to teaching and this has helped me figure out what
type of teacher I want to become. Practicums and student teaching has given me a chance
to try out different pedagogical approaches. I have been given a chance to use problem
solving or CGI methods when teaching mathematics, integrate literature into the content
areas, facilitate guided reading groups, and have been asked to use a strict, prescribed
approach to teaching social studies. Some techniques I enjoyed more than others; some

techniques appeared to be more successful with students. I have also been able to see
different approaches to classroom management. Again, without going into details, I have
seen the approaches that appear to have the most positive effect on students.
Nevertheless, I feel that I have grown a great deal through these experiences.
I am confident that I will grow into an incredibly strong teacher. I am a person of great
dedication and tenacity. Along with my students, every day will be an opportunity for me
to grow. We will learn together. I will learn from my students and they will learn from
me. I love students and believe I can provide instruction that will allow them to reach
their full potential. I am a staunch proponent of positive motivation. However, I will
provide my students limits and the structure they need to thrive. I believe in the use of
problem solving and inquiry based methods to challenge my students and promote
growth, but also understand the need for direct instruction. I am also a lover of the arts
and believe that integrating the arts into content can provide a different route to reach a
students prior knowledge and it can offer alternative methods for assessment. In other
words, students can potentially demonstrate their knowledge through the arts. Ultimately,
though, I seek to ground my pedagogy in evidence-based research.
I would love the opportunity to continue growing as a teacher. I am a product of the Des
Moines Public Schools and would be proud to be a part of your school district. I can be
an asset at your school if provided the opportunity. I genuinely appreciate you
considering me as a part of your team. If you have any additional question, you can
contact me at 515-423-8944 or andrewvmickunas@gmail.com.