Edu Students Spend Summer Teaching
Bluefield College students in the School of Education are accepting and filling local teaching positions as soon as they graduate from college or even before they graduate -- a sign of the value of a BC teacher education degree.
October 11, 2013
Emily Reynolds of Falls Mills, Virginia
Hannah Spicer Owens of Rocky Gap, Virginia
The most recent students to find jobs to fuel their passion for teaching: Emily Reynolds of Falls Mills, Virginia, and Hannah Spicer Owens of Rocky Gap, Virginia, both of whom served in area teaching positions during the summer of 2013.
Reynolds worked as a teacher for Energy Express, an award-winning, eight-week, summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities.
“This was one of the most rewarding summers I have had, because I could see each day the impact the program was having on the lives of these children,” said Reynolds. “It’s hard to believe some of the challenges young children in the community face, but I know that for this summer we were able to take that burden away and give them a safe, happy place to learn, read and play.”
This fall, Reynolds is student teaching at Dudley Elementary and Graham Intermediate schools in Bluefield, Virginia. She will graduate from BC in December of 2013.
“Serving Energy Express for the past 18 years, I have seen many fine mentors, but few possess the talents and qualities of the magnitude of Emily Reynolds, who was one of the best mentors I’ve had the opportunity to work with in all my years of service,” said Mary Frances Brammer, a highly esteemed educator who directed the summer Energy Express program. “Her love for children and her comprehension of what children need to make them successful is phenomenal.”
With a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies from BC and a teacher’s license, Reynolds will be qualified to teach elementary grades PreK-6.
“I’m delighted Emily had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Brammer and Energy Express this summer,” said Dr. Donna Hardy Watson, dean of the Bluefield College School of Education “This program exemplifies dedication to the goal of improving the reading skills of elementary school children. After teaching there this summer, Emily was even more excited to begin student teaching at BC this fall.”
Owens, a spring 2013 Bluefield College graduate, served as a classroom teacher for Taking Action for Special Kids (TASK). In her position, she helped TASK provide a month of summer enrichment for children and adolescents with special needs in Tazewell County.
“It was a fantastic, real-world experience working with students who had moderate to severe disabilities,” said Owens about her month of teaching at TASK. “This program provides four weeks of learning and enrichment for students in special education within Tazewell County who may not otherwise receive summer services. I was honored to be a classroom teacher for these students.”
Owens taught 11 students in her class and also led them on field trips to the movies, a local pool, and a local bowling alley. With a bachelor of arts degree in English with a Virginia professional teaching license for English Grades 6-12 and Special Education: General Curriculum K-12, Owens is now working at Giles (VA) High School, teaching 9-12 English and a Basic Skills class.
“I am forever grateful that Bluefield College added special education to its Teacher Education Program last year,” said Owens, “because I was able to use the knowledge gleaned from my courses within the TASK classroom over the summer.”
In addition to Owen’s teaching at TASK, three other Bluefield College teacher education students volunteered for the summer enrichment program -- Charity Jollay, Sabrina Spurlock and Yatrik Patel -- continuing a longstanding partnership between TASK and BC.
“Hannah and the Bluefield College education students were super enthusiastic,” said TASK director Patti Cettin, “and all seemed to enjoy working with our students, especially going bowling at Mountaineer Bowling Lanes.”
And, according to Dr. Watson, TASK and its students are not the only ones to benefit from the summer enrichment program.
“I encourage my education students to volunteer each summer with TASK to experience the joy of working with students who have special needs and to see the immense benefits that this summer session provides,” said Dr. Watson. “Mrs. Cettin is a passionate advocate for students with disabilities and their families. She is a role model of compassionate and dedicated leadership in the field of special education.”