by Clem Boyd
Go-getters. Hungry. Teachable. Humble. Supportive. Servants.
These wonderful descriptors and more are the kinds of words used by local school leaders to describe their interactions with Cedarville education majors who observe and instruct in their classrooms. Those immersive, real-life experiences begin for Cedarville students during freshman year.
Training and mentoring college undergrads can be taxing for schoolteachers and administrators already stretched to make sure they are giving their elementary, middle school, and high school students the best education possible. But when it comes to Cedarville students, local educators have found the experience mutually beneficial and inspiring.
“Cedarville always does a fantastic job preparing their education students for teaching,” noted Garry Hawes, principal at McKinley Elementary School in Xenia, Ohio. “The students are go-getters, hungry for the experience, and take guidance very, very well. We’re always excited and think very highly of any of our Cedarville students.”
During a normal school year, up to 20 Cedarville students would observe and help out in language arts classes at McKinley as part of their Methods I class taken during spring semester junior year. Students work with kindergarten through third-graders in the morning under the leadership of the classroom teacher, then debrief on the morning's activities with a Cedarville professor in the afternoon.
Hawes and school staff and administrators have discussed plans to have Cedarville education majors work with McKinley students virtually this spring.
At Greene County Career Center (GCCC) in Xenia, special education majors learn from intervention specialists who are working with teenagers and young adults who have disabilities. The intervention specialists teach classes and labs and work with career center students with disabilities in small groups.
“You see a servant’s heart when you work with students from Cedarville,” said Jenny Adkins, GCCC Supervisor of Student Services. “They don’t just talk about what they can do for the student, but also for the staff, how they can ease the burden for the intervention specialists. It’s a true collaboration; we both gain from this.”
In addition to observing and helping teach, Cedarville special education majors also review with intervention specialists the individualized education plans (IEP) for each GCCC student. They learn what goes in such a plan; how to write good goals; how to monitor, track, and document progress; and how to determine if the plan is working. They also sit in with intervention specialists when they meet with parents to discuss the IEPs.
“It’s hard coming in as a new teacher and looking at an IEP,” said Cindy Morris, Vocational Special Education Coordinator, who is responsible for arranging job placements for GCCC students. “I love to share this with them so they can understand what’s expected of them and help them along their path.
“This is a great partnership, and I’d love to see it continue,” Morris added. “I’d love to see more of our teachers come from Cedarville.”
Clem Boyd is Managing Editor of Cedarville Magazine.