Is a teaching career for you? This is what Emily Frizzell and Jennafer “Jenna” Wetmore have to decide before they become teachers. Annick Cooper, a fifth grade teacher at Rick Marcotte Central School (RMCS), welcomes SBHS students to intern in her class to help with the decision. Frizzell and Wetmore are currently interning in Cooper’s fifth grade class to observe the secrets of teaching and to help the fifth grade students.
It all started through the internship program at the SBHS Career Development Center (CDC). Wetmore became an intern because of a recommendation by Nancy LaVarnway, director of the CDC. Frizzell went directly to Cooper because Cooper had been her fifth grade teacher.
“I feel that young adults who want to be a teacher should work with students,” Cooper responds when asked why she takes interns to help in her class. “They should get their feet wet before they make a commitment.” This internship is indeed a great opportunity to “get your feet wet.”
The internship benefits both the interns and the fifth grade students. “The interns learn to be confident and teach the lessons,” Cooper explains. Confidence is a good quality to have, especially when it comes to teaching a class of 20 or more kids. “The students learn to build relationship and trust with young teenagers,” Cooper states. “The students are also able to work with people who have different personalities and ideas.” All their lives they will have to work with people of all different ages. This experience helps the kids learn to work with different people at an early age.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a teacher,” Frizzell says. “I wanted to intern in an elementary school,” Wetmore says. They both travel to RMCS during a free period in their school day. Social studies and math are usually being taught when the girls are in the classroom. Currently, the girls are helping small groups or working one on one with individual students. Later in the year, they will be able to prepare and teach the lessons.
Frizzell and Wetmore both think being in the class is a fun experience. “The students are in the Westward Expansion unit. It’s fun seeing the kids really get into it,” says Wetmore. The internship may be fun but it is also challenging. “The most challenging part so far has been learning names. All fifth grade classes come in so it’s difficult to remember everyone,” Wetmore says. “Also, it’s challenging if the kids are all doing something different and they need help. It’s hard to keep track of where everyone is at,” states Frizzell. These are two common challenges all teachers have to face.
Interning in a classroom is a great opportunity and experience as a high school student. If you are on the verge of deciding whether to become a teacher, but something is holding you back, become an intern and get some teaching experience. To all students who may want to become a teacher, get the exposure early to help you decide.
SOURCE: Megan Harton, SBHS CDC Correspondent