Education majors had a chance to gain some hands-on experience during Troy University’s annual Summer Spectacular.
The month-long learning enrichment camp took place during June at the Dothan Campus and allowed TROY students to lead patriotic-themed lesson plans for more than 50 children between the ages of 4 and 12.
This year’s theme, Patriotism: America the Beautiful, had children learning about America’s past and present, and also speculating about the future, including a manned mission to Mars.
Graduate student Colleen Stephens said the event was immeasurably valuable for her and her colleagues.
“We learned a lot of little lessons you can’t learn until you do it hands on,” said Stephens, who hopes to teach elementary students between third and sixth grade. “These are situations like, ‘Your supplies are going to come in two weeks late,’ and all the way to how to plan your lessons. We’ve learned how to work together really well and built some good relationships.”
Elementary education major Holly Dippold echoed those sentiments, as she said being responsible for three-hour learning blocks is something students can’t get in a normal classroom setting.
“It’s all on you, and you are responsible for keeping the children invested and tying the theme back to patriotism,” Dippold said. “It’s a challenge. It’s been good to learn how to collaborate with other teachers, because that’s something you’re going to have to do in the field. The kids have been wonderful. Trying to have activities to engage all age levels is really difficult, but working with all of them has been so much fun.”
For the TROY students, it was a chance to learn about the kids and the importance of an elastic lesson plan.
“It’s amazing, because you can’t learn about this in a book — working with the different personalities and having a chance to just sit with them and talk to them and learn what they like and don’t like,” Stephens said. “We’ve learned to be flexible, because the best-laid plans don’t always go the way you planned.”