My experiences in the early childhood and elementary education program have given me the opportunity to practice what I'm learning in programs and schools across the Burlington area and abroad.
During my first year, I read to preschoolers and worked at an afterschool program with students ages 6-12. In my second year, I interned in a preschool and a kindergarten classroom. I planned lessons; taught reading, science and math; and applied my knowledge from the classroom to real life. Having these experiences in a classroom opened my eyes to the wider requirements of being a teacher and both the challenges and joys that can come from working with five-year-olds every day. When I studied abroad, I was able to spend a semester in Ireland teaching young Irish students.
Through a full-time placement in my senior year, I'll apply all that I've learned at Champlain and continue to learn more as I work under an excellent mentor teacher and my supportive Champlain teachers.
If I had never stepped foot in a classroom, or had the supportive mentor teachers and professors at Champlain to guide me along the way, I would not feel anywhere near as confident as I do about finding a job upon graduation. I know I'll be able to apply all of the knowledge I have acquired inside and outside the classroom to any job I apply for.
Nicole, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorWillmington, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I have wanted to be a teacher for my entire life. I knew about Champlain because my parents got married in Burlington, but I thought it was too small for me-until I came here and realized it was perfect. The study abroad opportunities really caught my eye because it sometimes difficult to go abroad as an Education major at other schools.
I love the Upside-Down Curriculum because it puts you in your major specific classes right off the bat. In my sophomore year, all of my classes were fully geared towards the Education program. I had only education classes and Core classes, as well as a 2-day a week placement at a local school all year long. It was intense; I felt like I was almost too young to be making lesson plans and planning units, but working side by side with teachers was amazing, and they helped me through it. You get the best education when you are working in the classroom with teachers and students.
It worked out with my major that I could go to Dublin, Ireland, and my semester there gave me an edge to my education. When I left, I had amazing connections and had grown tremendously as an individual. You really put yourself in situations out of your comfort zone, and you rely on yourself and your own resources. Honestly, it makes you a better person. Since being in Dublin, I try to be very socially aware and see things from every perspective.
Champlain has helped me grow so much. I look at myself four years ago and everything I said I was going to do, and I've done it. At Champlain, I've done more than I could ever imagine. My experience here has transformed me into a better person.
Rebecca, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorMilan, NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I liked how small the school is, and I had the opportunity to be in the Imagine College* program for two years where I got to stay on campus and explore the different majors. Being a part of that program made me see how the campus was, and that was when I figured out I wanted to be here.
I decided to study Secondary Teacher Education, and my year has maybe twelve people in it. Because I am focusing on English, that number gets cut in half. I've had a lot of good classes in this major, and I have good relationships with the professors. I also had good field experiences last year, and I'm enjoying it. I like the classes that I'm taking academically, and I also like the little family that I have found on this campus.
The strength of the professor and classroom experience is that I get experience with teaching whether I am in an actual classroom or not. I learn lesson plans, I teach lessons and I get feedback on them. Every year, Ed students go to a school and volunteer in a classroom. My placement was at Edmund's Middle School, and I helped the teacher with assignments and made sure the students were on task during class.
I'm also involved with Shades of Me, a woman of color group on campus. Last year we put on a show for Black History Month highlighting amazing and strong black women. I'm just a member of the group, and I'm looking forward to what great ideas we can put together for this year. I'm going to move wherever the wind takes me.
*Imagine College is Champlain College's pre-college and college success initiate designed to help create college access for underserved populations.
Kiana, Secondary Teacher Education MajorNorth Brunswick, NJDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I've always wanted to be a teacher, but I really struggled with the age group that I wanted to teach. Champlain's Upside-Down Curriculum allowed me to get a feel for my major, and after working with middle school students, I knew that this was the perfect age group for me. They're right at the age when everything about the world is starting to make sense, and it's amazing to watch them progress and grow as individuals.
I've really enjoyed working in a classroom each semester. I've worked at Edmunds Middle School, Westford School and Hunt Middle School. The Burlington district really allows students to gain experience in working with diversity. The classes that I've worked in have always had a mix of learning levels which offers a unique challenge that most students haven't experienced. Being able to start in the classrooms early also allows us to make those crucial connections and references that we wouldn't normally forge until later.
But, my favorite part about Champlain's education program is the class size. My classes have only eight students in them, so over the years, we really get to know each other well. It feels really good to struggle and succeed with people who are experiencing the same things as you.
It's all helped me feel incredibly confident entering the job market. Champlain has given me the skills and experiences necessary to be a top-notch applicant.
Teal, Middle School Teacher Education MajorWestford, VTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I found out about Champlain through a little brochure I got after taking the PSATs. There was a picture of a beautiful campus and the sunset over the lake. I did some research online and realized they had the major I wanted, and that it was a great program. So, I came in and toured, and I fell in love with Champlain.
The Division of Education & Human Studies (EHS) is definitely great. We're working with people, and we have so much close contact with the people that we are going to be working with. We learn people skills, we learn speaking skills and, specifically in education, we learn how to make lesson plans and cater to each and every child you are going to teach. I know some of the professors are actually teachers in the Burlington area, and they bring their personal experience to the classroom. And I don't think you can get that if you just had a professor who has a Master's in Education, but was never in the education field.
There are six-week, one-credit signature courses in EHS where you're matched up with a group of students from every major in the division. You talk about global topics which often relate back to our Core classes. I was in a class called Social Justice Intensive, and we learned the fundamentals of social justice and how to bring it into the work force and the world. We talked a lot about racism and socioeconomic divisions, and we talked about disparities in the world that we're going to work to fix. It's really interesting to talk about social justice and to figure out how to bring it into our lives. It has helped prepare me for the outside world after graduation.
Natasha, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorBrighton, MIDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
When it came to deciding which college I wanted to attend, I was terrified. I applied to Champlain because I wanted to expand my writing skills and the Professional Writing major offered just that. Writing wasn't the only thing I wanted to do. In high school, I was blessed with teachers who really cared about me as an individual and they helped me follow my heart; I wanted to pay it forward and make a difference. I decided to do two things: follow my dreams by pursuing writing and become the best teacher I could.
On Accepted Students Day, I found my niche. I was coaxed out of my anxious shell in front of a room of strangers and asked to rattle off a poem I had just written. That action alone, the ability to make me be open, made it clear there was one place I needed to be: Champlain College.
The most important thing the Professional Writing program has taught me is not to pigeonhole myself. Veins of opportunity are opening up in front of us every day, and all we need to do is recognize and act on them. If there is something I want to do, there is nothing stopping me except myself and my own self-doubt. Once you dispel all that, the possibilities for what you can do are limitless. Hayley, Professional Writing & Secondary Education Double MajorWest Hartford, CTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Before coming here, I'd heard great things about the Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education program at Champlain. Since coming here, I've been working with children since my first semester, and I've had diverse experience working with after-school and during-school programs. All of my education content classes have applied to my placements, which add to a deeper discussion during class. I have never felt more prepared.
Along with my school placements, I've had the pleasure of working with the Life Experience & Action Dimension (LEAD) program as a student employee. LEAD covers topics that prepare students for life after Champlain. LEAD covers topics such as paying back student loans, buying a car, and gender and social norms, as well as providing an array of off-campus activities to become enlightened about the Burlington community.
I feel additionally prepared to tackle socially and culturally grounded problems because of my Core classes. You talk about yourself and your place in the world, and then expand to the local community. You take everything you have learned and see how you have grown in the last three years and value yourself as a part of the larger picture. Through Core I have learned about places, cultural, traditions and politics all over the world. We obtain our general education classes but in a way that is truly beneficial to us which make us a more well-rounded student and member of the community. I feel ready for life after Champlain because of my experiences here.
Shannon, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorRutland, VTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Laurel knows her role goes beyond the classroom. "I traveled to Europe, worked for a professor, served as a resident assistant and taught school in two countries. I am more than just an education student."
"Champlain has made me more confident. I gained a lot of good skills to market myself. I learned to write well and am proficient in several software programs. In the schools where I train, the teachers like the Champlain students and know that we are on top of things. Other college students usually intern in their senior year for only one semester, so they lack long-term contact and experience."
"After graduation, I do plan to teach, perhaps overseas. I like being out of my comfort zone. That's something I would not have known if I had not come to Champlain. I feel I'm ready to do many things."
Laurel, Middle School Teacher Education majorIpswich, MADIVISON OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
When I was touring and visiting schools, Champlain was always on my list. I was really attracted to Champlain's Upside-down Curriculum, and being able to work with kids right away. There are seven elementary schools in Burlington, not to mention surrounding towns, and the volunteer opportunities and student placements give you the chance to apply what you're learning.
I already have four years of experience working with kids, and those experiences are all so different. I have been able to view my position working with children in so many different ways that I feel like my competitive edge is not only the amount of internships I've had before graduation, but the different learning experiences that have all taught me something new. I made lessons for the whole class, worked one-on-one with students and facilitated small groups activities.
My student placements let me do all sorts of things to practice my teaching skills. The classroom work we did was the theory piece where we learned about teaching, but the placements were the real practice. We actually learned how to use the theory and become our own teachers. Once I got to my student teaching, everything that I did and learned came into play. I used all of those tools I had to have an amazing time in my fifth grade class, but also learn more and change my perspectives in education and who I am as a teacher.Josh, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorSandown, NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I used to volunteer in my mother's kindergarten class as an assistant whenever I could and I absolutely loved working with her students. One of the best parts about being a mentor was really understanding where students are coming from and developing ways to meet their needs.
This experience led me to discover my passion in education. When I started looking at colleges, my high school academic counselor recommended Champlain for their education program. I instantly felt at home; Champlain was the ideal college for me because I would have field placements starting my first semester on campus.
These placements have allowed me to work with children ranging from three to ten years old in very diverse environments, from Montessori, public and private schools to inner city and magnet schools. From all my placements, I learned that I love working with third graders because that's where students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Instead of teaching concepts such as phonemes and sound-to-letter correspondence, I'm able to let children use those skills to learn history and science concepts and help them develop their skills as a reader and a writer in the classroom.
By the time I graduate, the combination of my first-hand experience at seven student placements, the leadership skills I've gained through being a Peer Advisor and the networking I've done with faculty and staff on campus makes me feel confident entering the job market.
Rebecca is currently applying to be an Au Pair in France.
Rebecca, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education MajorSharon, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I knew I wanted to become a teacher in the first grade. I looked up to all my teachers and I thought they had the coolest jobs. I didn't do very well in the beginning of high school, and it wasn't until certain teachers really showed that they cared about my education and well-being that I started to excel. I chose my major because I want to be the teacher who makes a difference to students.
Champlain's Education programs do a really good job at preparing us for jobs after college. Each class I've taken has made me aware of different learning styles to think about when creating lesson plans, including working with English Language Learners (ELL). There have been a lot of challenges that I have had to overcome throughout the program, and ELL was definitely the hardest. But this program has such a great support system that I overcame this and gained the skills I need to help and provide knowledge to ELL students.
I'm very confident about entering the job market after graduation because not only am I learning techniques and skills for educating students, but I've also applied these skills right away. I have been in a school or a mentoring program every semester. Within my first month at Champlain, I was placed in a middle school classroom. I can't wait to be a teacher, and I'm more than ready.
Lindsey, Secondary Teacher Education MajorNorwalk, CTDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES