Prof. Karen Murphy: Preparing Future Early Childhood Teachers


Ask any teacher what their motivation is to do what they do, and you’ll have a slew of answers as diverse as the teachers you’re asking. Some are motivated by the opportunity to help others, some are motivated by making a difference, and others are motivated by their family or current events. For Karen Murphy, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, her motivation is the students she works with.

“What excites me about my job is… the passionate, caring, committed, interesting students I get to work with every day,” she says. She explains that her students all come from different backgrounds and experiences, and all want to do different things within the early childhood education field. These differences make conversation within the classroom more variable and interesting, as well as open the floor to discuss the different trajectories that an early childhood education degree can launch students toward.

The diversity in the classroom mirrors the diversity that is characteristic of the field itself. Murphy says she feels that Wheelock’s program is especially unique because not all programs prepare you to enter such a wide range of jobs and settings, but the ECE program at Wheelock equips students with the knowledge they need to navigate the array of options upon graduation.

“It’s really important to me that my students, as prospective teachers, understand how young children learn best. And that is through exploring things that are really relevant to them,” Murphy says. She says that in her classes, her students learn the way she wants them to teach the children they work with. “We walk the walk we want our students to walk,” she explains.

You can learn more about Wheelock’s undergraduate Early Childhood Education program here, and in the video below: