As part of a class field experience, Jacqueline Gaffner, Ed. D., and her Intermediate Literacy course students in the Texas Wesleyan School of Education, put their lesson plans into practice Mondays and Wednesdays for five weeks at William James Middle School.
“I had such a positive and educational experience working at William James with some great students, that it made me open up to the possibility of teaching the upper grades instead of lower like I have always wanted,” education student Hannah Six said. “I have grown so much from this experience and I feel even more prepared to go into student teaching in the spring!”
Most elementary schools end at the fifth-grade level, while sixth-graders are often on a middle school campus. Since TXWES students receive an EC-6 certification, they need experience working with sixth graders, and WJMS is within walking distance of TXWES.
“[TXWES] students write several lesson plans in all courses, but do not always get a chance to practice teaching them,” Gaffner said. “Therefore, lesson plan construction and reflection are often missing an essential component - student interaction and feedback.”
Field experiences embedded in several education courses are valuable ways students gain real-world teaching experience and preparation. These experiences also put them on a path toward passing mandatory certification tests. From there, Texas Wesleyan’s award-winning DFW alumni network connects them with new opportunities and helps students start careers in their field.
“I have seen so much growth in my students as they move from theory to practice, because of the extensive field experience embedded in this course,” Gaffner said.