Student teacher Brian Stillman listens to feedback about his portfolio during an exhibit on the college’s campus in late April.
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Several teacher candidates at Lycoming College have completed their student teaching experience to prepare them for careers in education. Most of the students obtained their first taste of teaching in local schools and represent a range of fields including mathematics, sciences, languages, early education and special education.
Student teaching is only one way Lycoming College’s Department of Education prepares students for their profession. In April, they invited two dozen teachers and administrators from local schools to participate in mock interviews. During the event, school officials interviewed students individually to give them practice with responding to commonly asked questions. After the mock interview, the officials then provided the student with feedback to help them improve.
“School officials realize that recent graduates have little actual teaching experience to draw on for the interview,” said Dan Taormina, the high school principal for the Montoursville Area School District who graduated from Lycoming College in 1993. “We encourage them to talk up their student experiences as well as what they learned in the classroom. What we’re looking for is a real passion for their chosen career.”
Taormina recommends all prospective teacher candidates prepare for open ended questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to teach” that will give school officials a sense of who they are hiring and their level of commitment.
Local educators, several of whom graduated from the college, participating in the event included:
From the Williamsport Area School District: Jeff Robbins ’87, high school principal; Justin Ross, assistant high school principal; Robyn Hannan ’89, middle school teacher; Laura Schmack, elementary school teacher; John Killian ’86, elementary curriculum director; Liz Barnhart, special education supervisor; Roger Freed, teacher; Jim Ellis ’97, elementary principal. From the South Williamsport School District: Jesse Smith, high school principal; Dwight Woodley, elementary principal; Matt Fisher, assistant high school principal. From the Montoursville School District: Taormina; Darrin Feerar, elementary school principal; Marc Haas ’86, elementary school teacher; Ray Huff, retired principal; Craig Kurtz, elementary principal. From the Loyalsock School District: Linda LaCoe, high school teacher; Becky Leid ’10, high school teacher; Carol Johnson ’84, high school teacher. From East Lycoming School District: Ron Lorson, high school principal. From the Jersey Shore School District: Jim Smith, high school teacher; Steven Keen, assistant high school principal; Reed Mellinger, high school principal. David Reichelderfer, retired from Bald Eagle Nittany Area School District and Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, assistant professor and chair of Lycoming’s education department, also participated in the interviews.
“We appreciate the time our local educators give to our students,” said Hickoff-Cresko. “Along with supporting our mock interviews, they guide student teachers in their classrooms, guest lecture in classes and provide networking opportunities. They also provide our staff with insights into innovative teaching techniques, and how state and federal policies will affect their particular schools.”
Lycoming College staff members who organize the student teaching experiences and the concluding exhibits and interview events include: Hickoff-Cresko; Amy Rogers, Ph.D., certification supervisor; Student Teaching Supervisors Marlene Cauley (elementary) and Melvin Wentzel (secondary); and Kris Datres ’75, placement coordinator.
Teacher candidates from all class years at Lycoming are encouraged to build portfolios that will give prospective employers another way to evaluate individual experiences. The students showcased their portfolios for the Lycoming community during an exhibition in April.
Back row, left to right: Andrea Campbell, social studies 7-12 of Williamsport, Pa.; Bryan Stillman, social studies 7-12 from Williamsport, Pa.; Philip Schron, biology 7-12 from Albrightsville, Pa.; Felicia Sloyer, Spanish K-12 from East Greenville, Pa. Front Row: Bobbi-Jo Lundy, PreK-4 from Muncy, Pa.; Hannah Bischoff, PreK-4 and Special Education PreK-8 from Germantown, Md.; Hannah Swarner, PreK-4 and Special Education PreK-8 from Williamsport, Pa.; Samantha Raup, French K-12 from Williamsport, Pa.; Madalyn Confer, mathematics 7-12 from Montoursville, Pa.; Rebecca Hutson, PreK-4 and Special Education PreK-8 from Hughesville, Pa.; Daniel Cunningham, mathematics 7-12 from Hazleton, Pa. Not pictured: William Thomas, music K-12 from Williamsport, Pa., who student taught at a Department of Defense school in Vicenza, Italy.