Trinity education majors develop their knowledge of teaching both inside and outside of the college classroom. For them, the “outside the classroom” experience often places them in an elementary or high school classroom with internship opportunities for student observation, teacher aiding, and student teaching.
Education majors are required to spend 200 hours in the classroom even before student teaching. They begin observing in classrooms as early as sophomore year, a process that helps them decide early if they are on the right career path.
For elementary and special education double-major Kari LeGrand ’15 of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, her placement at Elim Christian School helped fulfill the required hours of teacher aiding. To LeGrand, the high school placement has been much more than just achieving the 50 hours before semester’s end.
“Being placed at Elim has opened my eyes to a new approach to teaching,” said LeGrand. “I enjoy being at Elim so much, because the main focus is to be positive and encourage their students. The staff has this common understanding that makes teaching more cohesive and the environment very friendly.”
One goal of this Trinity-Elim partnership is to provide students with a variety of classroom experiences. LeGrand spent two semesters at local public schools, one in 2nd grade general classroom and another in an 8th grade resource room.
“I think it’s extremely important to get a wide range of experiences, including multiple classroom settings,” LeGrand said. “My time spent at Elim has taught me how to manage a classroom, what strategies work best, how to touch on every student’s goals, and how to build relationships within a staff.
A second goal of partnering with Elim is to provide the school with volunteers who are eager to serve and learn in the classroom and apply what they’ve been learning in their course work.
LeGrand is grateful for the supportive Trinity education professors who have prepared her for classroom experience with advice and encouragement beyond the required course work.
“Since the very first education course I took, I have been educated on how to act professionally, how to get involved, and how to make the most of the content that I learn in my classes,” LeGrand said. “The part that I love most about teacher aiding at Elim is working one on one with students or in groups. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to encourage them throughout the day, and in turn, witness these students learning new skills and concepts.”