June 25, 2012
Fourteen Knox College students, recipients of REACH Fellowships, have spent part of their summer preparing for future teaching careers by lending a hand at Knox's College for Kids program.
Shayna Hargraves, a Knox senior from New York City, New York, taught Elementary Spanish to youngsters in second through seventh grades who attended College for Kids June 11-22. It marked the first time she had led a classroom on her own.
"It's very scary, but very gratifying at the same time," said Hargraves, a double-major in educational studies and Spanish who will student-teach in New York City during the 2012 fall term. "To develop a lesson plan and see it come to life and be successful, that's one of the best feelings."
Christian Lewis, a Knox senior from St. Louis, Missouri, collaborated with another REACH fellow, Claire Turner, to teach math, and she assisted Knox faculty member Kathleen Ridlon with a dance and movement class. (Photo at top: Christian Lewis, third from right, helps teach children in the College for Kids dance and movement class as Kathleen Ridlon watches.)
An educational studies major with a minor in Black Studies, Lewis will student-teach in the fall at Nielson Elementary School in Galesburg, Illinois.
"This is good practice for that and is making me more comfortable and not as nervous to be in a classroom on my own," she said.
Lewis led a couple of lessons in the dance class, helping children learn more about how rhythm and emotion in music affect dance movements. She said that provided her with more insight on how, as a teacher, she can incorporate movement in her core-curriculum classes.
By teaching and assisting at College for Kids, REACH fellows gain experience working with Knox College faculty and master teachers from Galesburg-area schools, said Stephen Schroth, assistant professor of educational studies and co-director of College for Kids. The REACH fellows who teach their own classes gain "a sense of the flow of instruction and how planning and classroom management work in real time," he said.
REACH fellows also gathered each afternoon with Knox College education faculty members to explore topics, such as talent development and classroom management, in greater depth.
"I feel we're learning a lot of things outside of (what's in) a book," said Lloyd Scott, Jr., a senior from Chicago, Illinois, who is majoring in educational studies. He assisted in three classes: Beginning Jewelry Making, Crime Scene Investigation for Kids, and Flying High with Soda Bottle Rockets. (Photo at right: Lloyd Scott helps a College for Kids student.)
"The first thing we went over was creative thinking," Scott said of the afternoon seminars. "We really wanted to touch bases on reaching out to kids who go beyond the expected knowledge level in the classroom, and how to assist them with learning more on their level -- while also teaching other students."
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.
REACH fellows "tend to be among our most successful student teachers," and several alumni of the program currently teach in Galesburg Community Unit School District No. 205, Schroth said. "Working with children from the community helped these young teachers recognize the connection between the College and Galesburg and helped them to make the decision to continue living here after graduation."
The 2012 REACH fellows are:
Lloyd Scott, Jr.
Melvin Taylor, Jr.
Photos below: At upper left, Angeles Garduno with a College for Kids student in art class. At upper right, Cale Dahm with a student in Mental Math class. At bottom: Shayna Hargraves with students in Elementary Spanish.