Pursuing Her Passion for Education

Madison Hayes and her brother posing for a picture on the Mizzou campus when they were younger.
Mizzou has been a special place for Madison Hayes (pictured right) and her brother for years. Working toward a degree through the College of Education and Human Development, Hayes is also pursuing the Honors Certificate at MU. Photo courtesy of Madison Hayes.

A student in the University of Missouri College of Education and Human Development, Madison Hayes, who is also pursuing the Honors Certificate, 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.

Madison Hayes
Through the Honors Learning-by-Contract program, Hayes was able to earn Honors credit through her Learning and Teaching Elementary Grades Mathematics (LTC 4300) course. Photo courtesy of Madison Hayes.

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 were allowed to use whatever strategy they felt comfortable with.

Hayes worked with John Lannin, a professor in the College of Education and Human Development, and Erik Partridge, a Ph.D. student, to make the Honors Learning-by-Contract opportunity a reality.

“Depending on the strategies used, I was tasked with coming up with next steps, which was very challenging,” Hayes said. “My students perform at different grade levels and learn in different ways. They ended up using a variety of strategies for solving the equations.”

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.

“Research is something that I really enjoy, so diving into all of the data and creating spreadsheets of my findings was really rewarding,” Hayes said. “It was just exciting all the way around. Any chance I have to get into the classroom and play the role of teacher is so important to me. That passion is really what drove me to conduct this research in the first place.”

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 a 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.”

Madison Hayes celebrating her two degrees.
Along with her high school diploma from Rock Bridge High School, Hayes also earned her associate degree from Moberly Area Community College. Photo courtesy of Madison Hayes.

Mizzou was also a special place for Hayes. She knew that she would be a Tiger once she graduated from Rock Bridge.

“My dad took my brother and I downtown and to the columns all the time,” Hayes said. “We’d play football on the quad and eat at Shakespeare’s. It was our weekly Saturday outing. I loved being on campus and fell in love with the culture. I knew I would attend when the time came.”

Hayes actually arrived at MU in 2022 with an associate degree from Moberly Area Community College. With the pandemic forcing learners of all ages to online classes, Hayes took advantage of the extra opportunities, deciding to get a jumpstart on her college education.

“I love being challenged academically, so when I saw a program that would actually help pay for the degree, I jumped on the opportunity,” Hayes said.  

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.

“I love the College of Education and Human Development,” Hayes said. “There are so many ways to get involved, and the hands-on opportunities are really great. The professors are also incredible. It’s such an outstanding program.”

Hayes has taken several Honors courses, including classes in the behavioral science sequence. She said those specific courses have allowed her to explore topics that are of interest to her.

“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.”