More than 25 Curry College Master of Education (M.Ed.) students came together this month with the Education Department faculty and staff to present their final fieldwork experience or teaching practicum. Each graduate student worked a minimum of 300 hours across 15 weeks in a classroom placement serving as the lead teacher. This is often the last step for each teacher candidate before earning their graduate degree and pursuing a license in elementary education or special education.
For some of Curry's M.Ed. students, who work as teaching assistants or childcare professionals, the graduate curriculum and practicum serve as a professional launchpad for advancing their education career. Throughout the hybrid/hyflex program, the student teachers develop and plan curriculum, learn instructional strategies, assess student learning, gain experience working with diverse learners, and develop their teaching style and reflective stance in a supervised setting.
"I can honestly say that every class, assignment, and discussion has been relevant to my practice as a professional educator, and I have been able to apply my learning right away in the field," says Brittani Laporte, M.Ed. '21, a teaching assistant with Needham Public Schools. "I have also received pertinent and timely feedback from my professors and advisors to help refine my instructional strategies in the classroom."
"Now that I have earned my M.Ed. in elementary education, I have been hired as a 4th-grade teacher for the next school year. I'm excited to continue to work towards my moderate disabilities license with Curry in the fall," she adds.
The practicum success of the M.Ed. students this spring is especially impressive given how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted schools this year, says Dr. Giordana Basta, assistant professor and director of graduate programs in education. "We're extremely proud of what our cohort of students have accomplished with their practicums, particularly because they've persevered during a time when teachers have had to shift continuously from remote to hybrid to fully in-person teaching models. They have all taken it in stride and with such excitement and positivity. It gives me great hope for what's next in education."
For Owen Chalmers M.Ed. '21, Curry's graduate program offered him an opportunity to advance his career as a special education teacher, a career path he unintentionally fell in love with after serving as a substitute teacher. "As soon as I walked into the classroom, I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do," he says. "Curry College prepared me to see the child as a whole. While high expectations and engagement in academics are crucial for a child's development, the social-emotional aspect is just as important. Understanding what makes a child motivated and how to build a relationship with the child is something that I've learned at Curry."
See more from Brittani Laporte on how Curry’s supportive professors and advisors helped her succeed in her career change to becoming a teacher.