Erica Money, Class of 2019 - Early Childhood Education

A Teacher's Craft

"I'm building my teacher's toolbox. I'm filling it with strategies now that I'll be able to pull out and use to help my students when I have my own classroom," says Early Childhood Education major, Erica Money.

Erica, a member of the Class of 2019 from Milford, CT, and Vice President of the Education Club, has a goal to teach kindergarten or 1st grade in the nearby Boston Public School system - a perfect setting to employ her tools.

"Curry is preparing me to do just that. The Education department is set up to help us succeed. With the classroom placements early in the program; the fieldwork; the courses that teach us how to lesson plan the curriculum; and the different opportunities I've had on campus, it's all been to prepare me for what I can expect in my own classroom."

Speaking of classrooms, after high school Erica thought she might thrive in a large one - set on an even larger campus. "When I first started looking at colleges, I thought I wanted a huge city campus. Once I saw Curry though, I knew it was the place for me."

Erica was prescient and understood what she would need in the future and where she wanted to go.

"I recognized that Curry would prepare me well for the future that I always wanted."

As an incoming student, Erica knew she wanted to be a teacher and to study early childhood education, but during her sophomore year, things really started to come together.

"From the experiential learning experiences and opportunities I've had thanks to Curry, I've discovered that I do my best teaching and connect the most with younger students."

Erica has also found through her fieldwork (i.e. applying classroom knowledge to real-world professional practice) at St. Mary's of the Hills School in Milton and the Beethoven School in West Roxbury, among other placements, that she would like to work with the English Language Learners (ELL) population.

She is even conducting an Independent Research Project for her ILS major titled "Early Language Acquisition for English Language Learners (ELL)."

"I'm looking at the ability of students for whom English isn't their first language; it might be their second or even their third or fourth language. How do they develop early literacy skills and early language skills?" Erica's research is important for many reasons, with one being that there are many ELL students nearby in Boston.

"I've been lucky enough to have been placed in classrooms where I've worked with ELL students or students who have just graduated out of the ELL program. I have witnessed the progression of their language development, both the positives and negatives."

"I've also seen the successful strategies used by their teachers that I can use in my own teaching."

When asked how Curry might compare with other schools when it comes to learning outside of the college classroom - a key practice in the education field - Erica answers, "a great thing about Curry is that you get to sample all different classroom types."

"We are placed in a different setting each time. You are in an urban setting, then a suburban one, a low-income area and a high-income area, so you get to see all the different challenges."

The fact that Curry students get to start the process early in their college careers is a positive as well.

"Starting my sophomore year we were going into classrooms for a couple hours a week. I know people in other schools back home that started their fieldwork second semester junior year. I started a year and a half before them." Junior year is when Curry education majors get to student teach, and by senior year, they are teaching five days a week in a cooperating teacher's classroom.

Erica also enjoys the community feel of the Curry campus. She has served as a resident advisor (RA) for the past two years, and sees her love of teaching as complementary to being a RA.

"I see similarities in the community building aspect of being a teacher and a RA. In both you are planning programs, doing bulletin boards and creating educational programs."

"I also like to connect with First-Year residents and be a resource for them."

Being that guiding hand to a student is certainly in Erica's future.


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