Reflection on Collegial Learning
Throughout my experience in the Clark MAT program, I have been able to work with an incredible community of fellow MAT students, professors, teachers, and other members of the UPCS community. Altogether, this learning community has helped me to grow into the teacher that I am today, and I am grateful for the support and mentorship of everyone that I have been able to work with.
Even before beginning my practicum, the graduate level courses that I have taken as part of the MAT program have placed a great emphasis on putting theory into practice. Each course grounded me solidly in theory, so that by the time I was in the classroom, I was able to pull from what I learned when I actually had to plan lessons, work with English Language Learners, and consider all of my students’ individual needs. Through the graduate courses that I took during this program, I studied Human Development and Learning, Best Practices, Literacy Across the Curriculum, Teaching English Language Learners, Content-Specific Instruction, and other subjects that helped me to develop the skills that I need to become a stronger, more knowledgeable teacher.
Clark’s MAT practicum is unique from other teacher training programs in that the practicum is a year long, full-time, intensive internship. Even before I took over my own 8th grade classroom, I was observing and assisting in various classes throughout UPCS, across different grade levels and subject areas. I was able to be a teaching assistant for my mentor teacher, Meghan Rosa, in both the 7th and 8th grade English classes right from the beginning of my practicum. Additionally, from the very beginning of my practicum, I started teaching 10th grade public speaking every Wednesday. As terrifying as it was to jump right in, I had many valuable experiences through trial and error that have helped me to feel much more prepared for anything that comes my way as a new teacher. Most importantly, Meghan’s mentorship helped me to strengthen my lesson planning, develop my own classroom management and teaching style, and grow both personally and professionally as I make my way closer to becoming the teacher I want to be.
On-Site Seminar is a hour-long class that meets once a week on Wednesdays, led by UPCS Geometry teacher and Clark University instructor Kyle Pahigian. Though it is a class that counts towards our Teaching and Learning graduate course, this seminar often felt like an informal yet incredibly informative lunch meeting where all of the UPCS MATs would gather to share experiences and learn together. Kyle provided many valuable resources, including information sessions with the school adjustment counselor and guidance counselor. We also discussed articles on classroom management, effective class discussions, and student motivation, as well as sharing our own lesson plans and getting feedback from each other. Most importantly, on-site helped to foster a sense of closeness between all of the UPCS MATs. Once a week, we were able to have some time to celebrate our successes or share our frustrations, and to give each other support. Ultimately, on-site seminar has been an incredibly valuable aspect of the MAT program.
Discipline-Specific Advising Group
This year’s English/Humanities cohort was a group of seven English and Spanish teachers, teaching at both the middle and secondary level. Throughout all sessions of Teaching and Learning, our group became very close. Under the guidance of our university mentor, Heather Roberts, we learned with each other and from each other, sharing our unique philosophies and perspectives on why teaching language and literature was so important to us. As our mentor, Heather went above and beyond to provide as much support and guidance as possible, fully understanding our unique positions as both students and teachers at the same time, and pushing us in the most supportive way to achieve our potential as educators.
Professional and Community Resources
When I began my practicum at University Park, I joined a community of educators who are united in their passion for providing an excellent education to all students. All of the faculty and staff members whom I worked with at UPCS were always incredibly helpful and supportive. The middle school teachers at UPCS specifically treated me as part of their team, and offered advice and even a helping hand whenever I needed it.
Clark’s Education department has also been an incredible resource. The curriculum lab located in the department is stocked full of text sets and other resources, as well as free copying available to all MATs. Through the Education department, I was also able to order a full text set of Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian; without this text set, I would not have been able to teach the unit to my students.