Hinsdale Central students get hands-on teaching experience
Hinsdale Central senior Gabby Silva works with a student at King Elementary School in Chicago as part of the Inviation to Teach class at Central. | photo courtesy of Dawn Oler
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:23AM
HINSDALE — Gabby Silva has been interested for a while in pursuing a career as a special education teacher.
Now, the Hinsdale Central senior is certain that is the career path she wants to follow, thanks to her participation this past fall in the Invitation to Teach class at Central.
“I had been looking forward to taking this class,” Silva said of her fall classroom experience at Elm School in Hinsdale. “I like the fact that I got to have the experience of actually working in a classroom before going to college.”
Students spend the first three weeks of the semester in the classroom at Central as students before beginning assignments assisting teachers at area schools.
“It was a little weird being on the other side of it,” Silva said. “I never knew how much work teachers put in outside of the classroom, but I’m even more interested now in teaching than I was before.”
Open only to seniors, the classoffers a realistic teaching experience enabling students to work under the supervision of certified staff at preschool, elementary or middle schools.
Those in the class spend about two hours, four days each week at an assigned school to assist, observe and teach young children, along with one day at a Chicago school. Teaching responsibilities include journaling, observations, creating a visual display, facilitating a field trip, creating and teaching a lesson, and shadowing a teacher for a day.
“Once students are matched in a classroom, we also meet once a week and talk about current trends in education and how things are going for them,” said Dawn Oler, one of the instructors.
Oler said three of the 14 students in the fall class decided they no longer wanted to pursue careers as teachers after their experience.
“It’s better that they find that out now,” Oler said.
As a student in the spring semester class, Claudia Beard had not yet started working in a classroom when she talked Feb. 1 about her interest in a career as an educator.
“I have worked with kids before and am sure I want to be a teacher,” she said. “I want to teach the younger kids, and I’m excited about having the opportunity to get a feel for the classroom before college.”
Beard said she was hopeful she would get assigned to Elm School, where she attended, for her training.
“It would be great if I could work with one of the teachers I had when I was there,” she said.