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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 3:56 am | Fog/Mist 53º

 
 
 
 
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Santa Barbara City College Students Try Out Teaching With Adams Elementary Partnership

Education students spend time in school classrooms for firsthand teaching experience

SBCC student teacher Morgan Remy, right, helps Adams Elementary second graders through a hands-on task of building miniature bridges out of popsicle sticks. She assists in the classroom through a partnership between SBCC and the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
SBCC student teacher Morgan Remy, right, helps Adams Elementary second graders through a hands-on task of building miniature bridges out of popsicle sticks. She assists in the classroom through a partnership between SBCC and the Santa Barbara Unified School District.        (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Working in a classroom full of third graders for 16 weeks taught Santa Barbara City College student Esmeralda Royas more than just patience.

Royas had never spent that much time with young children since she grew up without young siblings or neighbors to look after.

But at Adams Elementary School in Santa Barbara, with 25 little personalities asking her questions, Royas discovered she’d rather teach third-graders than older students — a revelation that will help when she transfers to California State University, Long Beach to continue her education next fall.

“I really liked it,” she said of student teaching at the local school. “It taught me a lot about a future career, if it’s something I can handle. I learned a lot from them.”

Royas was one of 20 SBCC students who participated this year in a partnership between the community college and Santa Barbara Unified School District, which selected Adams School because of its depth in programs, student diversity and veteran teaching staff.

ED 291 (Practicum in Teaching) students spend 16 weeks shadowing teachers at Adams, where the institutions have joined efforts for more than three years.

Student teachers gain some of the 45 hours of field work necessary to become professionals, and Adams educators get help running small groups working on reading, writing and math two days a week for two hours.

Adams Principal Amy Alzina said the learning happens at both ends.

“The more research-based strategies and skills student teachers learn through hands-on experience, the more effective they will be when they eventually have their own classroom,” Alzina said.

Adams Elementary second graders had fun building miniature bridges out of popsicle sticks. Click to view larger
Adams Elementary second graders had fun building miniature bridges out of popsicle sticks. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“It has been wonderful for me to see the student teachers understand that the number one factor toward student success is the relationship a student has with his/her teacher.”  

Gaining experience early on is especially critical, SBCC education instruction Layne Wheeler said, since half of all students studying to become teachers drop out after the first year.

Tasks range from helping second graders build miniature bridge tresses with popsicle sticks and glue guns, to leading a book discussion with fourth graders.

The latter was how Michellyn Shonka recently found herself sitting on a colorful carpet at the center of a small circle.

“This is my happy place, with the kids,” said Shonka, a Thousand Oaks resident who used to work in hospitals and elsewhere but will make teaching her second career.

Her studies will continue in January at California State University, Channel Islands, where she will bring what she’s learned: the importance of time management and balancing structure with creativity in the classroom.

“You really have it in you,” fourth grade teacher Christine Gallagher told Shonda, of her ability to run her own classroom someday.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Education students from SBCC, including Morgan Remy, right, work for 16 weeks in local elementary school classrooms to get teaching experience. Click to view larger
Education students from SBCC, including Morgan Remy, right, work for 16 weeks in local elementary school classrooms to get teaching experience. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

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