Enthusiastic about Education
Classroom teachers face many challenges: preparing lesson plans that meet curriculum standards while simultaneously capturing students′ attention, adapting coursework to meet the needs of a roomful of students with a wide range of abilities, handling behavior issues, communicating effectively with administrators and parents, and much more. Teaching is a demanding profession that requires dedication, energy, love — and experience. The education majors at Geneva College are provided numerous opportunities to develop their skills and obtain vital experience by working with local students in a variety of settings.
Whether part of a course requirement or through a volunteer opportunity, Geneva education students are involved at a number of area schools. “They do good work — and have fun doing it,” says Associate Professor of Education Dr. Nancy Johnson.
Last semester, 10 elementary education majors from the Teaching of Science and Teaching of Social Studies classes volunteered to lead activities for 50 elementary students as part of the Mohawk Elementary Super Science Fridays program. During the day, Geneva students conducted interactive and engaging science experiments for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
“As they plan, they must adapt the same activity for different grade levels,” explains Dr. Johnson. “So they get practice in differentiating to meet the different levels of students.”
Also, some special education majors chose to participate in the Special Olympics held at Western Beaver High School on April 29, 2011. “The students wanted to help out in any way the possibly could,” says Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Beth Belcastro. The Geneva students were matched with special needs students who needed “buddies,” helped with races, acted as cheerleaders, and did whatever else they were asked to do.
According to Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Yvonne Trotter, opportunities like this are invaluable: “I believe that any opportunity to work with individuals with special needs provides the students with experience in all aspects of their future career — inside and outside of the classroom. The more they know of specific disabilities, traits and characteristics, the more they enhance their skills. And the experience allows them to see each student as an image-bearer of Christ.”
Both elementary and special education majors also participate in advanced field experiences through block classes during the junior year, which provides extensive field experience prior to student teaching. As class assignments, students enrolled in elementary education block classes this semester took part in Hopewell Area School District′s Margaret Ross Elementary School Science Fair Day, and the special education majors assisted in the administration of the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) testing for students with special needs at The Watson Institute in Sewickley.
Elementary education major Bonnie Hunter can attest to the value of the experiences offered to Geneva students. She says, “Get as much exposure in the school setting as possible because you will become more comfortable in the classroom and gain valuable experience with children.” Bonnie encourages all of her classmates to make the most of the many available field experiences: “The professors in the education department are always announcing opportunities for college students to help with area schools — take advantage.”
And through these activities, Geneva students continually demonstrate to the community the excellent level of preparation they receive. When Dr. Johnson visited the students during Science Fair Day, one teacher told her, “When I heard that Geneva students were coming to Science Fair Day again, I thought, ‘Oh, good. I love Geneva students. They always do a good job.′”