Graduate Student Experiences · Student Perspectives · Tips and Hints for Grad School · Uncategorized

Teacher Education Student Perspectives: Take II


“When one teaches, two learn.” -Robert Heinlein


Our Plattsburgh State Teacher Education graduate students are learning about learning! This is the second installment of our summer blog series: Teacher Education Student Perspectives. Our campus has amazing Teacher Education programs, and there’s so much to learn about them.  We’re excited to shine a spotlight on these dedicated students, to get an insider view on what they found valuable during their time in the program, to impart some advice for new and current students, and to discover what they’re up to now.



There are many avenues to enter the world of teaching through Plattsburgh State, and it’s our goal to help you get there! If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our office at 518-564-4723, or stop by Kehoe 113 on campus!
Carolyn Smith: BA/MST Adolescent Education English Concentration (Grades 7-12)

File Jul 24-2I’m Carolyn Smith, and I’m an English concentration in the BA/MST Adolescent Education program for grades 7-12.  I have completed all course work except for student teaching, which I will be doing in the Glens Falls region during the upcoming fall 2017 semester.  I will be student teaching in Lake George High School and Warrensburg Junior High School starting in September.

One of my favorite experiences in the graduate Education program was my field placement at Beekmantown Middle School during the Spring of 2017.  I was placed in an 8th grade classroom for four weeks, and during this time I was able to plan and teach many lessons.  I loved the students that were in my classes, and my cooperating teacher taught me a lot about what it’s like to teach middle school. It’s an experience I will never forget!

For future or current Education program graduate students, I recommend getting as much experience as you can both within the Education program and outside of it. Tutoring and being a TA are two great ways to get teaching experience outside of your field placement and student teaching.  Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, I jumped on as many opportunities as I could to teach, TA, and tutor other students. These experiences really showed me that teaching is the best career field for me.  If you’re unsure about the field, taking advantage of these opportunities is a great way to help you decide if teaching is right for you–before you get to your field placement or student teaching after completing all your courses.

Finally, when you’re in the classroom, always remember to be yourself, and have fun!  If you do, your students will learn more than just your content area from you!

Jordan Welch: BA/MST Childhood Education with a concentration in Social Studies           (Grades 1-6)
img_1571.jpgI’m Jordan Welch, and I’m a Childhood Education major with a concentration in Social Studies.  I’m in my last semester of undergraduate courses, and will take my first graduate courses in the Spring of 2018!
All of my favorite memories in the Education program revolve around my time working with the children.  We are so fortunate to get to interact with elementary students starting our first semester of our freshman year.  Many of my learning experiences and overall notable memories have come from being with the kids.  The students we work with are true bundles of joy and have taught me so much about teaching.  It is so rewarding to see their growth both within in learning and in life.
My piece of advice is to embrace everything thrown your way throughout your courses.
The Plattsburgh BA/MST program offers you so much, and the only way to get anything out of this program is to welcome what is given to you.
Also, trust your gut when you are with the children.  Know that not every day will be fun and easy, but that from the tough moments, you will grow not only as a teacher, but as a person.  Lastly: when in doubt, pop-see-ko it out (Google it!).
Missy Devan: BA/MSED Childhood Education with a concentration in English (Grades 1-6), and Special Education (Birth-Grade 6)
missyHi my name is Missy Devan, and during my undergraduate time at SUNY Plattsburgh, I studied Elementary Education grades 1-6 with a concentration in English.  During my graduate time at SUNY Plattsburgh, I studied Special Education, for ages birth-grade 6.  I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2011 with my bachelor’s degree, and in 2013 with my master’s degree.  I am currently working as the permanent building substitute for Beekmantown Elementary School.  Before becoming the permanent substitute, I was a substitute in multiple area schools working in grades from Pre-K through 12th grade.
One of the most memorable moments during my undergraduate studies was when I did a field placement in a 4th grade classroom at Momot Elementary School.  I only taught a couple of small lessons since I was still early in my program.  Years later while working as a substitute at Saranac High School, I had a student tell me that she went to Momot for a couple years, and then mentioned that she remembered me from 4th grade!  She remembered the specific lessons I taught and told me that having me there was one of the best parts of 4th grade.  I was shocked she still remembered me and the lessons I taught in the short time I was there!  It made me realize what a difference we can really make as teachers!  Other than that, the best part of college was the friends that I made and the professors that I had! (Shout out to Cindy McCarty!)
The beautiful thing about this program is how early it gets future teachers into classrooms.
My advice would be to always give the best impression you can when going into the local schools.  It’s never too early to start getting your name out there and making yourself known in the schools.  If you make a good impression during field placements and student teaching, staff will remember you, and it will only help you in the future.  Make sure to always be professional and dress for the job that you want.  I also recommend interacting with the students as much as possible, and make an effort to get all of the experience you can while you’re in the field.  Don’t just sit back and observe (unless that is the purpose of the visit!); take any opportunity to work with the students! Also, as any professor will tell you, be careful what you put on social media, you don’t want it to come back to haunt you later!
Michaela Cahoon: BA/MST Adolescent Education with a concentration is English (Grades 7-12). 
Hello, my name is Michaela Cahoon, and I’m a Adolescent Education major with a concentration in English!  I have taken a handful of Education classes so far.  In the Spring 2018 semester, I will be a full-time Education graduate student.
I have two special memories I’d like to share from my time in the teaching program at SUNY Plattsburgh.
The first memorable moment was during my EDU 280 course – the very first Education class for Adolescent Education majors (BS), where we complete fieldwork in many of the local schools.  This was such a great experience to be able to observe teachers with varying teaching styles, and to visit schools that may have been vastly different than from our own academic backgrounds.  After fieldwork, we came back together as a class, and really unpacked what we saw – which helped to solidify my desire to be a teacher and sparked the development of my own teacher philosophy and pedagogy.
My second memory stems from an opportunity granted to me by one of the Education professors–Dr. Jean Ann Hunt.  I had taken EDR 524 with Dr. Hunt and learned quite a bit about teaching styles and varying classroom methods.  She then asked me to be her TA for an Honors course in which I came up with the daily activities, created classroom goals, and actually spent time facilitating class discussion.  I not only acquired teaching tips from an actual Education professor, but I got to see what worked for me as a teacher by working through my thoughts, triumphs, and hiccups with an experienced professor.
My advice to prospective, new or current students is to keep an open mind about everything, even if you don’t think it’s necessarily your personal “teaching style.”
You learn so many new methods and activities throughout the program, that being open to any and all of them will help you grow as an educator.  Also, keep all of your activity handouts so you have them to use in the future!  Another piece of advice is to ask questions, and really use the faculty to your advantage.  They have such varying and interesting experiences both in and out of the classroom, and they can offer a lot of advice and perhaps open some doors and provide some great opportunities!
Note: *This post is the second of a summer series of Education Student Perspectives for our Graduate Admissions blog.  SUNY Plattsburgh offers several teaching programs with a variety of concentrations, and this post is not a comprehensive view of our programs.*

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