Mount Union Students Teach at Low-Income, Diverse Middle School in Charleston, SC During Spring Break

March 31, 2010

A group of Mount Union education students, along with Dr. Peter Schneller, associate professor of education and co-chair of the Department of Education and Dr. Ivory Lyons, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies performed culturally and developmentally responsive teaching in a low-income, diverse middle school in Charleston, S.C. during spring break.

The annual trip is funded by a foundation that is operated by a generous and passionate Mount Union alumnus. The alumnus is very interested in supporting efforts that bring teacher candidates into contact with students of different backgrounds, especially those with learning challenges or special needs.

While in Charleston, the students had the opportunity to teach the middle school students at Baptist Hill High School.  “Last year the middle school was in academic emergency and was seized by the state and then closed. The state had to move the seventh and eighth grade to the high school,” said Schneller.  “The middle school students have low reading and math scores, and our teacher candidates were immersed in the classrooms there.”

“The trip was different because it gave us (education majors) a peak into our future. We learned that ethnically diverse schools are just like any other schools and teachers have different teaching strategies,” said Cory Muller, a junior middle childhood education major from Akron, OH. “We are in the classroom in college to learn and better ourselves as teachers, but until you actually get into the classroom you cannot fully understand what it is like to be a teacher. I loved interacting with the students and remembering what it was like to be in their shoes.”

In addition to teaching at Baptist Hill High School, Mount Union students were involved in a community service project where they helped clean up at the afterschool program P.I.N.K H.O.U.S.E.

Muller explained that everyone that went on the trip has a common passion for educating youth. “My favorite part of the trip was actually interacting with the fellow students,” he said. “It's amazing how close a group can become in one week.” Schneller added that “the group became a group and then turned the corner to becoming teachers.” 

“I would go on this trip again in a heartbeat,” said Makenna Lewis, a senior art major from Ravenna, OH, who is pursuing a minor in multiage education. “Even though we were only in Charleston for a week, I took away so many life lessons that will benefit me in the future.  It was an eye-opening experience and I would recommend this trip to anyonegoing into education.” 


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