Classes Benefit From College Connection
“What is mimicry?” asked St. Bonaventure student, Olivia Dwaileebe to Love Elementary School fourth graders in Chris Yocum’s class. “Is it when one animal looks like another animal, or when animals are brother and sister or when an animal become extinct? Enter your answer in your iPad.
Ms. Dwaileebe put the answer up on the screen and the kids who got the right answer cheered.
“So, it’s when one animal looks like another. Can someone give me an example?”
Ms. Dwaileebe, who is also a Jamestown High School graduate, is one of 16 St. Bonaventure University education students who are doing a field placement at Love School in grades UPK through fourth grades. The St. Bonaventure students have two field placements. The field placement currently at Love School is the semester before student teaching. This placement allows students to take methods courses at Love School and then intern in classrooms for real-world experiences. A typical day for the St. Bonaventure students is half hour of instruction time in the morning, four hours of classroom time in the morning and more instruction in the afternoon.
“It is very important that the students be on-site at a school like Love so they can apply the skills learned in the classroom,” said Christina Gaeta, St. Bonaventure Visiting Assistant Professor & Student Teacher Supervisor. “It’s important for our students to receive a variety of teaching experiences and for their experiences to be as broad and deep as possible.”
Mrs. Gaeta, along with Christine Hunt, Assistant Professor & Department Chair: Elementary Education; Elementary Education & Early Childhood Education; Elementary/Special Education, travel with the students to Love School. The student interns are paired with a Love Elementary School teacher who is their mentor and role model. The students focus on teaching math, science and literacy. They learn how to address individual student needs and learn how to analyze data and assessments. Love Elementary School teacher Chris Yocum has hosted St. Bonaventure University interns and student teachers in prior years.
“As a teacher, I know it is important to have exposure to the classroom as early as possible. Most of what I learned as a teacher was in the classroom itself. We give feedback to the interns when they teach and we are modeling for them classroom practices and management. They also learn to be flexible. You may have a plan for the day but often, especially at the elementary school level, you need to be able to rearrange things to fit what your class needs. I really enjoy working with the St. Bonaventure University interns.”
In addition to the classroom work, interns are often invited to grade-level meetings and see firsthand how the grade level works as a team collaborating on lessons plans and data assessment.
“The three fourth grade interns are now collaborating just like we do in our professional learning communities to create their lessons,” said Mrs. Yocum. “We can model what best practices are for teachers so that they have a head start before they go out and student teach.”