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From One Classroom to Another


Stories from Mount Teacher Candidates

Most students spend four years in the classroom — as students. But Mount education majors spend a lot of time in the classroom as students and teachers.

Mount St. Mary’s has formal agreements with select Professional Development Schools in Frederick County. The P-12 schools and MSM faculty collaborate to provide internship experiences; support and enable professional development and improvement of practice; and support and enhance student achievement. This agreement provides teacher candidates with opportunities to apply what they have learned in their Mount classes while they learn the art of teaching from master teachers.

“Our internship model incorporates a gradual release of responsibility from the classroom teacher to the teacher candidate in instruction and assessment, recognizing the value of co-teaching for the P-12 students,” says Barbara Palmer, dean of the Mount’s School of Education and Human Services.

Is it worth it? Students overwhelmingly say yes.

“This semester, I am taking on the responsibilities of a full-time classroom teacher at Thurmont Elementary School as well as taking courses supplementing the internship,” says Nicole Hurley, a senior at the Mount. “My days seem endless as I get up early, teach all day, then come back to campus to prepare for the next day and anything that I need to complete for classes.”

Mount teacher candidates have many great stories to share.

In one lesson for her first graders about specialized cells and their importance in multicellular organisms, Hurley used a puzzle to do the teaching. She showed the students a plant cell puzzle with pieces of various shapes and sizes, reinforcing that each has a different “job” or “function.” When she put the puzzle together, she heard their understanding in the form of “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Rachel DeMartino, a senior at the Mount, admits it can be difficult to get the attention of 26 first-graders, and one of her techniques to engage young students is to make them laugh. Recently, Rachel gave a lesson on identifying the parts of speech. When she described nouns, she told them to touch their hair, which is a noun. Rachel pulled her ponytail straight towards the ceiling.

“It was silly and the students noticed,” she says. “But I know if I am animated and excited about what I am teaching, the students can feed off my energy and they can get excited to learn as well.”

One student in DeMartino’s class is introverted and an unhappy kindergartener. The student’s mother approached Rachel and told her what a difference she is making in her daughter’s life, as her daughter is opening up and making friends.

And another lesson learned for a Mount student as well!

To learn more about the School of Education, visit the education department's webpage.

 
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