Student Blogs During Spring Break Trip to Charleston

March 16, 2010

Dr. Peter Schneller, professor of education and co-chair of the Department of Education and Dr. Lyons, professor of religion at Mount Union are in Charleston, South Carolina for spring break with 16 middle childhood teacher candidates.

As a part of the ME 350, a middle school field experience/seminar class, the class takes an annual spring break trip to Charleston, SC. In the past, they have been involved in service-learning teaching at R.D. Schroder Middle School and The P.I.N.K H.O.U.S.E, but the middle school was recently closed. The students once enrolled at R.D. Schroder Middle School have been absorbed into Baptist High School, where they are in single-gender classrooms in trailers (called modules) with very small number of students (no more than 10 per class and with 90-minute blocks).

Almost all of the teachers in the middle school are first year teachers from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  The trip provides teacher candidates with the opportunity to teach at a low-income, diverse middle school.

Tiffany Ormiston, a junior middle childhood education major from Minerva, OH is one of the students on the spring break trip and is blogging all week about her experience teaching at a low-income, diverse middle school.


March 6, 2010 

We left campus at 5:15 a.m., talk about waking up early! After a few stops and a lot of sleeping, we arrived at our beach house on Folly Beach around 6 p.m. All of us rushed into the house wanting to see the inside. Our next stop… the beach. We headed out to the ocean and it was a sight to remember.

While Dr. Schneller went shopping for groceries, the rest of us explored the beach and enjoyed the sunshine. After eating pizza for dinner, we headed out for a few hours. I had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone and getting to know every person. We came back to the house, grabbed our blankets, and sat out on the deck out by the ocean and had a wonderful time. I cannot wait until tomorrow if this is only the first night.


March 7, 2010

After getting some much-needed rest, we got up early to go to church. We arrived at church 45 minutes before it started. We stood outside, took in the warm South Carolina weather, and talked as a group as other people arrived. As the services started, the reverend and other members of the church made us feel very welcomed to be there.

This church was very different from my own, you could feel the energy and spirit in the room. I have never in my life experienced anything like that. The people there were shouting out in agreement with what the reverend was saying. When we left church two hours later, people shook our hands, thanked us for coming, and wished us luck. This brought a smile to my face and made me feel good. Once we left church, we learned that they had given us money for all of us to eat. We were all very thankful!

We went back to the beach house and ate dinner after more exploring. Dr. Rogers and another woman came to speak to us about the Citadel and Baptist Hill High School. They gave us some background information and a good idea of what to expect when we arrive at school tomorrow morning. I am not looking forward to getting up at 5 a.m., but it sounds like this is going to be an experience I will not forget.


March 8, 2010

We woke up at 5 a.m. and left at 6 to arrive at the school at the designated time. The administration was not expecting us until next week which made things a little unorganized. The teachers were not prepared for us and nor were the students. My classmates and I got to see operation success in action for the first hour, went on a tour of the school, and received some background information up until lunchtime.

For the second half of the day, we were placed in groups into different classrooms – I was in a 7th grade boy’s math class. At the high school, the classes are split up by gender. I was a little against this at first, but after seeing it in action, it really is not that bad and may even help the concentration of the students. The different genders still have other opportunities to interact so they are not completely closed off from one another. Being around a lot of first year teachers, the students seemed to respect their teachers. The teachers that I spoke with one-on-one really seemed to like their jobs even though they were hired two days before the school year began. Most of them came from states up north like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

After leaving the high school, we went to the P.I.N.K House. We interacted with much younger children at this house. The children didn’t seem to see color and really took to us very well. We played with them outside. They didn’t want to see us leave. I am excited to go back again tomorrow.


March 9, 2010

Today was our second day in the classroom. Even though I spent the first two block periods doing absolutely nothing since there were no students in the classes, I spent the rest of the day observing, which gave me some enriching information. I helped students as I walked around the math classroom. It made me feel really good helping them and knowing they were understanding what I was telling them. After finding out information during the teachers' meeting first block, I did not see what the actual teachers saw in these students. The teachers did not seem to want to help the students. This upset me when because I feel that the teachers are not giving them the help that they need. I hope to one day give students the help and the extra attention that they need in order to succeed.


March 10, 2010

Today was a short day in the schools. We did not get to spend much time in the classroom, but we did get to see a mock spelling bee and a career fair. It was nice to see the teachers and students outside of the classroom.

We then went on a tour around Charleston and it was absolutely beautiful. The ocean and amazing houses were a sight I will never forget.

We got certified at the Black to Light training and went on a tour of the Citadel. It was a beautiful campus full of individuals who were hard at work! It was interesting to see another college at work and students from all over. The tour guide was our age. He helped fill us in on some background information and explained what his typical day is like. Then, it was back to the beach house for a night of relaxation before we get to actually teach tomorrow with our cooperating teachers. It should be an interesting day.


March 11, 2010

Today we taught in the classrooms by ourselves. I really enjoyed teaching these students. The small classes and single genders really help the focus of the students. They made me feel welcomed and seemed to understand what I was saying.

After the school day was over, six of us Mount Union students played the staff of Baptist Hill High School in a basketball game. I had a lot of fun playing basketball with them. They are some talented individuals! We were close to beating them, but they pulled away at the end. I am hoping to see them all again one day.

We then ate dinner at Home Team BBQ… it was delicious! After studying for the praxis, we went out and spent some much-needed time together. Playing pool and singing karaoke was one of the highlights of the week.


March 12, 2010

Fort Johnson Middle School was more racially mixed compared to Baptist Hill High School. The students there seemed very friendly, as did the staff. I liked seeing the students' artwork all over the walls of the school.

Charleston is a bigger city than what I am used to seeing. There are a lot of shopping centers and food places. The market had numerous different things that interested me. The people there also seemed friendly and were always up to making a bargain with you.

…Now it's back to studying for the Praxis and getting some sleep.


March 13, 2010

Following the Praxis, we went to the Citadel for the Bulldog Extreme Challenge. It was interesting to see the students hard at work for these challenges. I for one would not do a challenge like this. They were forced to run from station-to-station carrying sandbags on their backs. They had many obstacles to do that challenged their strength physically and emotionally.

We finally left at around 2 p.m. Arriving just passed 12:30 on the Mount Union Campus put smiles on our faces. It felt good to be home, but I am already missing the sunny warm weather of the south.

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