Madison Sullivan is an Elementary Education major with a concentration in Special Education. She is involved with the Education Honor Society, APPLE, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2020.
Where are you interning/did you intern?
I interned through an organization called SummerCollab. SummerCollab is an organization that helps children reverse summer learning loss in low-income neighborhoods and communities. I was placed at a Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington and was there full-time for 12 weeks this past summer.
What are/were your responsibilities as an intern?
Each day, I worked with three different age groups for two hours a day, running curriculum. Each group typically had about 12-16 children in it. My responsibilities included getting my lessons ready/planned out for the day, executing the lessons that were appropriate for each age group, maintaining control of my classroom, and making sure each child was attended to and accepting the curriculum well.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
9:00-9:30: Arrive/Set-up classroom for the day
9:30-10:30: First Grade curriculum
10:30-11:30: Second/Third Grade curriculum
11:30-12:30: Fourth/Fifth Grade curriculum
1:00-2:00: Lesson Planning
2:00-3:00: Second hour of First Grade curriculum
3:00-4:00: Second hour of Second/Third Grade curriculum
4:00-5:00: Second hour of Fourth/Fifth Grade curriculum
What is/was your favorite thing about your internship?
Some of the other classrooms only worked with one specific age group, but I was lucky enough to work with all three. I was given the opportunity to run three different curriculums and be the teacher role for various ages. I think the exposure was very beneficial for my future career as an educator because I was able to see which age group I fit with best, and where I was most comfortable. Moreover, my very favorite thing would be seeing the children progress and be excited about learning, even in the summer. Of course, a lot of time, it is hard to get children motivated to learn, so seeing all of the work that the staff and I put in payoff was really rewarding to see.
What is/was the most valuable skill you developed in this internship that you can use in your future career?
Going into this internship, I had not started student teaching and had never been in a teacher/educator role up until this point, so I was a bit naive as to how to run/maintain a classroom. In receiving a curriculum, altering it to best meet my student’s needs, carrying out the curriculum, and having time to plan lessons each day, I saw a typical classroom schedule and what my future days as a teacher will mirror. Overall, the most valuable skill I developed was classroom management and how to prioritize as a teacher in charge of a group of students.
What was something unexpected that happened during your internship, or resulted because of your internship?
Because I had the exposure to all three age groups, I was able to see which age group I liked working with the best. I always thought I wanted to teach kindergarten or first grade, and to my surprise, that completely switched after this summer. I really enjoyed working with all three age groups, but I definitely think the fourth/fifth-grade levels were much more fitting for me personally. Had I not been able to work with all three levels or had this internship, perhaps I would have never had this realization.
What advice or words of wisdom can you share for other students who may be interested in pursuing this internship, or a similar one?
At first, it is going to be extremely overwhelming. There are a lot of names, personalities, and children to get acquainted with and comfortable with. Always remember that you are just as unfamiliar to them as they are to you, so if you are nervous than your children/students probably are too and that’s okay. It is really important to try to maintain control of the classroom as best as you can. Lastly, it is super important to remember to have fun and be enthusiastic with your students! I cannot stress enough how much more enjoyable your time in the classroom will be if both you and your students genuinely enjoy the lessons, and it will show in their work as well.
How did you grow as a future professional in this field?
I think this experience boosted my confidence within myself as a leader. At the beginning of the Summer, I was pretty unsure of myself and I think that the nervousness showed when in my classroom. After learning how to get the ideas across to my students, I became more self-assured and excited about the curriculum. I also learned how to alter the curriculum I was given to best meet my student’s needs. Overall, I think I learned how to be a better educator which is a two-way street for both the teacher and students.