Education Students: Learning First-hand
When students in Bluefield College’s Teacher Education Program completed their studies this spring, they did so with more than just knowledge obtained from books or lectures.
May 3, 2012
Bluefield College spring 2012 student-teachers (left to right) Emily Minter of King George, Virginia; Ashley Strickland of Galax, Virginia; Heather Lane of Bluefield, West Virginia; Elizabeth Tinsley of Montross, Virginia; Holly Dillon of Abbs Valley, Virginia; Leah Cline of Tazewell, Virginia; Lindsey Burris of Grayson County, Virginia; Emily Sears of Hinton, West Virginia; and Erin Darnell of Orange, Virginia.
Thanks to a longstanding partnership with local secondary schools, BC’s future schoolteachers gained vital hands-on experience through a semester of student-teaching mentored by current educators inside actual classroom settings.
Often described as the most rewarding aspect of teacher licensure training at Bluefield College, the student-teaching component provides “in the classroom” experiences for BC senior teacher education majors, who work and learn alongside educators who have been in an actual classroom setting for many years.
“It’s a valuable opportunity for students to practically apply various theories presented in the college classroom,” said Dr. Donna Watson, chair of BC’s Division of Education, which recently received endorsement from the Virginia Department of Education to offer instruction in special education.
Nine BC students completed the on-the-job training this spring, including Lindsey Burris of Grayson County, Virginia; Leah Cline of Tazewell, Virginia; Erin Darnell of Orange, Virginia; Holly Dillon of Abbs Valley, Virginia; Heather Lane of Bluefield, West Virginia; Emily Minter of King George, Virginia; Emily Sears of Hinton, West Virginia; Ashley Strickland of Galax, Virginia; and Elizabeth Tinsley of Montross, Virginia.
They all spent the spring 2012 semester providing much needed assistance to local schools, while at the same time getting valuable practical experience as teachers in the classroom.
Burris, the daughter of Gary and Angie Burris, served as a student-teacher at Graham Middle School and Bluefield High School. In addition to her teacher educations studies, she is a member of BC’s Student-Virginia Education Association (SVEA) and the Lady Rams varsity softball team, where she was named to the Academic All-Conference Team. A graduate of Grayson County High School, she is also a frequent member of BC’s Academic Dean’s List.
“So many children come from broken homes or families where they feel unappreciated,” said Burris about her student-teaching experience. “So, when you’re teaching, you can get a positive attitude and focus from the children if you just let them know you care and that you know they can succeed.”
Cline, the daughter of Don and Martha Elswick and the wife of Zachary Cline, did student-teaching at Abbs Valley Elementary School and Dudley Primary School. A graduate of Tazewell High School, she is a member of BC’s SVEA and a frequent recipient of the Academic Dean’s List honor.
Darnell, the daughter of Brad Darnell and Kerri Hedinger, completed student-teaching at Graham Intermediate School and Springville Elementary School. A graduate of Orange County High School, she is a president of BC’s Alpha Delta community service sorority and a member of SVEA. She also is a resident advisor and a frequent member of BC’s President’s and Academic Dean’s lists.
Dillon, the daughter of James and Lesa Dillon, completed student-teaching at Abbs Valley Elementary School and Dudley Primary School. A graduate of Pocahontas High School, she is a member of BC’s SVEA and often included in the school’s President’s and Academic Dean’s lists.
Lane, the daughter of Donna Carson and the wife of Todd Lane, did student-teaching at Graham High and Bluefield Middle schools. A graduate of Bluefield High School, she is a member of BC’s SVEA and often included in the school’s Academic Dean’s List.
Minter, the daughter of Joe and Lori Minter, served as a student-teacher at Graham Intermediate and Springville Elementary schools, A graduate of King George High School, Minter is a member of BC’s Student-Virginia Education Association.
“Student-teaching is like gardening,” said Minter. “You plant the seeds, wait for the sprout, pull up the weeds, water, and care for the tender plant. The work is hard, but the rewards are well worth all the toil and effort.”
Sears, the daughter of Allen and Janice Sears, completed student-teaching at Graham High and Graham Middle schools. A graduate of Summers County High School, she is president of BC’s Student Government Association and secretary of Kappa Psi Omicron sorority. She also is a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Phi Beta Lambda business club, Pi Lambda Theta teacher’s society, and SVEA. In addition, she is a frequent member of BC’s President’s and Academic Dean’s lists.
“Being a student-teacher is a great opportunity, because you get to try out your career before you are actually hired,” said Sears. “The thing with teaching is that it is one thing to study about it, but actually getting up in front of a class with the materials you have created is the best way to learn. I have learned so much by being in front of the classroom.”
Strickland, the daughter of Jimmy and Denise Strickland, did student-teaching at Graham High and Whitethorn Elementary schools. A graduate of Carroll County High School, she is a member of Pi Lambda Theta and SVEA. She also is a member of BC’s women’s volleyball team, where she earned Academic All-Conference and was named a National Christian College Athletic Association Scholar Athlete. In addition, Strickland is a frequent member of BC’s Academic Dean’s List.
Tinsley, the daughter of George and Gail Tinsley, completed student-teaching at Bluefield Intermediate and Princeton Senior High schools. A graduate of Colonial Beach High School, she is a member of BC’s Student-Virginia Education Association.
Since 1977, Bluefield College has graduated highly qualified educators who serve as outstanding teachers and administrators in public and private schools in Virginia and across the nation. In fact, last year alone, four BC teacher education graduates won Teacher of the Year awards in their respective schools, counties and districts.
“The training and personal attention I received at Bluefield College is what prepared me for a career in education,” said 2011 Raleigh-Liberty (WV) High School Teacher of the Year and Bluefield College alumna Leslie Lambert. “My success in the classroom can be attributed to the instructors at Bluefield College who took a personal interest in my success.”
Endorsed by the Virginia Department of Education and nationally accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), BC’s Teacher Education Program offers undergraduate programs for teacher licensure in elementary and secondary education, special education, art, health and physical education, music, biology, business, chemistry, English, history, information technology, mathematics, and social sciences.