My Buddy, John Dewey

By Talia Most, SED’20


A cornerstone of the SED community is the web of meaningful relationships amongst students and their facilitators. The strongest faculty relationship I developed during my first year in the School of Education was with Professor Rob Martinelle. Rob was completing his doctoral dissertation during my two semesters as his student, and our whole class was cheering for him and proud of the work he was pursuing. Rob had given each of us so much profound knowledge and individual attention throughout the course, so we decided to do something as a group to support him in his dissertation.

Throughout the course, Rob taught us a great deal about John Dewey, the educational philosopher. Because of this, myself and a few other students organized a class gift to Rob as a thank you; a life size cardboard cutout of John Dewey. On the day of the final, we delivered Mr. Dewey to our testing room, and the whole class got to partake in the special moment of mutual appreciation between us and our professor.

Rob is no longer my professor, but I go to visit him during his office hours whenever I can. He is always happy to see me and makes a compassionate attempt to understand my thoughts and concerns, whether or not they are related to pedagogy. Whenever we chat, John Dewey is standing in the office, reminding me of how important it is to establish lasting relationships with our amazing faculty in the School of Education. Be it coursework, classroom placement, Harry Potter or pet dogs, I am grateful to have Rob and so many other wonderful School of Education professors in my life.

I get to have little moments like that everyday. It is a place where intellectual family extends beyond the reaches of academics, where the lines between teacher and student are blurred by mutual respect and collaboration. To me, the School of Education means that my relationship with Rob is not out of the ordinary because everyone around me is striving to make those impactful relationships. It is a place where a giant piece of cardboard can make a classroom full of people feel at home, and I would say that is pretty spectacular!