July 12, 2013
Twelve Knox College students, who are preparing for teaching careers, gained practical experience in the classroom during Knox's College for Kids summer academic enrichment program. Selected as REACH Fellows, the Knox students taught youngsters in several courses, including Myth & Mythmaking and Natural Disasters.
"I thought this would be a good opportunity to get ahead of the game," said Knox student and REACH fellow Manny Orellana, who co-taught a math class with Sean O'Keefe '12. "I'm going to be a junior, so the earlier I get in the classroom, the more beneficial it will be for me."
"What I want to do is teach in the lower grades because I never had that male role model in elementary school," Orellana added.
Knox College created the REACH program -- "Recruiting and Enlightening through Access to and Communication with High-need schools" -- with a grant from the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of REACH is to encourage more first-generation college students of color, especially men, to become elementary school teachers and role models in the community.
At College for Kids, REACH fellows taught and assisted in classes, working with Knox College faculty members and master teachers from Galesburg-area schools. The fellows also met regularly with faculty from Knox's Department of Educational Studies for in-depth discussions on a range of topics, such as classroom management.
"To be able to have my own classroom of 12 kids and be responsible for every aspect of that environment is so valuable," said Hannah Bloyd-Peshkin, who taught the Natural Disasters class and will be a senior in the fall.
Lloyd Scott, a 2013 Knox graduate who has been hired to teach in Galesburg, co-taught the mythology class with fellow Knox student Kin Vong. Scott said he enjoys seeing how more-experienced teachers design creative games and other strategies for younger students.
"I might use those in my classroom for fourth grade next year," he said.
"Being a teacher is kind of like being an athlete," added Scott, who played football at Knox. "There's always something you can get better at."
Bloyd-Peshkin said she was confident she could lead a College for Kids course because Knox has provided her with many opportunities to work with school-age children and assist in classrooms.
"Knox sets us up for success," she said. "It really eases us in and provides us all the support and resources we need to become fantastic teachers, especially when we're willing to put in the effort, as well."
The 2013 REACH Fellows are: