Pursuing her passion for education

MU student Madison Hayes is transforming her classroom experience through the Honors Learning-by-Contract program, igniting her passion for teaching, rekindling fond memories of her alma mater and seizing every opportunity for growth.

Madison Hayes (pictured right) and her brother as children. Hayes is working toward a degree through the College of Education and Human Development, and is also pursuing the Honors Certificate at MU.
Madison Hayes

March 7, 2024
Photo courtesy Madison Hayes.

Madison Hayes, an Honors student in the University of Missouri College of Education and Human Development, is always looking for opportunities to get real-world teaching experience.

Last semester, the Honors Learning-by-Contract program allowed her to do just that.

Through the program, Honors students work with MU faculty to transform a non-Honors course into an Honors credit-earning experience. Honors Learning-by-Contract allows students to deepen their understanding of class material and further explore an area of interest through special projects or research.

Hayes was able to earn Honors credit in her Learning and Teaching Elementary Grades Mathematics (LTC 4300) course.

“It was really amazing to be able to enhance my class through the program,” said Hayes, who is a junior pursuing an education degree with an emphasis in elementary education. “I was able to step into a teacher role and gain vital hands-on learning experiences. I loved the opportunity to expand on what I was learning in the course.”

The LTC 4300 class has students explore the growth of children’s mathematical thinking and supports the development of skills for eliciting, interpreting and responding to that thinking. Hayes put the skills she was learning in the classroom to practice immediately through additional research. Her Honors Learning-by-Contract project had her develop two story subtraction problems. She administered those problems to a second-grade class at Fairview Elementary School in Columbia. Students were given 10 minutes to solve the problems and could use whatever strategy they felt comfortable with.

Hayes took the data she collected and developed a 12-page paper focused on those strategies and how she would capitalize on them, as well as the next steps she would take as an educator. She also gave a 10-minute presentation on her work to her LTC 4300 class.

The project held special significance for Hayes in another way, too. A Columbia native, Hayes attended Fairview Elementary School and later graduated from Rock Bridge High School. She was part of the A+ Program in high school and returned to Fairview as a tutor for third grade students. It was that experience that sparked her passion to become an educator.

“It was really great to be back at Fairview for my research project,” Hayes said. “I have so many great memories there. It was the place where I realized I wanted to become an educator, so it holds a special place in my heart.”

The Honors College and the College of Education and Human Development at Mizzou have continued to provide an exciting challenge for Hayes. She has also stayed incredibly involved in both programs. Hayes is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi sorority and part of the student council team. She has also done research through the Bullying Prevention Lab, led by Chad Rose, an associate professor.

“Being part of the Honors College has been so worth it,” Hayes said. “It’s provided me with a family of peers who are so motivated. I’ve been able to have such interesting discussions in every class. It’s been beyond amazing.”

Read more from the Honors College

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