More than a month before graduating, Courtney Lima '20, Brianna Rivers '20, and Monica Wilkes '20 and five other education majors at the College accepted new job offers and acceptances to prestigious graduate programs. Whether in physical classrooms or remote, the new graduates will begin their first academic year as professional educators in September.
"The things that excite me the most about having my classroom in the fall are that I will be responsible for supporting student growth and learning," says Rivers, who will be a pre-kindergarten teacher at Delphi Academy, an independent K-8 school in Milton, Mass. "I'm excited to plan engaging and educational activities for my students to do throughout the school year, and that I will be able to apply all that I have learned in my education courses in my classroom."
As a third-grade teacher in the New Bedford Public School district, Lima echoes Wilkes's excitement for leading a classroom of her own and using the knowledge and skills from her curriculum and training at Curry. "All of my education courses have prepared me to become the elementary educator I am," she says. "The field experiences at Curry have given me the experience and confidence needed to be a classroom teacher. They set the foundation for my future success."
Beginning as early as sophomore year, education majors at Curry start working in classrooms to shadow educators and gain an array of diverse field experiences by graduation. Students then begin student-teaching during their junior year, and as seniors, are teaching five days a week in a cooperating teacher's classroom.
"Curry introduced me to so many amazing educators through the field experiences," says Wilkes, who will be teaching fifth-grade math in Sheldon, Vermont. "With four different field experiences, I was able to advance and refine my skills. I discovered what strategies in a classroom would work for me, as well as some others that would not. Thanks to Curry, I feel ready to take on this new chapter of my life."
Among the Class of 2020, other education grads including Megan Ladner, Danielle Gagnon, Abigail Huntress, and Cameron Nigro, are pursuing graduate school and teaching fellowship positions, including the Sunita Williams Elementary School program at Curry, which integrates the Master in Education curriculum with hands-on fieldwork at the Sunita L. Williams Elementary school in Needham, Mass. Alongside their graduate work, they will be teaching at other public school districts in the state including New Bedford, Methuen, Peabody, and Haverhill.
During the summer, on top of designing lessons plans and creating activity calendars, the new grads will also prepare for remote learning with Zoom and other virtual learning tools. “My school is hopeful students will be able to come back into the classroom this fall,” says Rivers. “However, there is a large chance many things will be different. It’s important to be prepared by becoming comfortable with Zoom, learning about Google Classroom features, and other online communication tools.”
Regardless of how learning and K-12 classrooms may look this fall, Curry’s newest cohort of teachers have big goals for the new school year and look forward to teaching, mentoring, and supporting young minds. "In my first year of teaching, I hope to build valuable relationships with my students, parents/guardians, and other staff in my school," says Lima. "I hope to dive in to teaching my first year and never stop learning from my students and others around me to continue to improve and grow professionally."