The Daily Illini

Student teachers skip last semester on campus

Ellie Gallo, student teacher at the Carrie Busey Elementary School in Savoy (part of Champaign school district), sits with kids during class.

Photo Courtesy of Ellie Gallo

Ellie Gallo, student teacher at the Carrie Busey Elementary School in Savoy (part of Champaign school district), sits with kids during class.

By Marissa Plescia, Staff Writer

Ellie Gallo, senior in Education, has always wanted to be a teacher. As a little kid, she can remember playing school and making her little sister be her student. Her dreams have not changed much as she continues to work on her teaching skills at the University.

“I love working with kids; I love helping them. I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else,” Gallo said.

For seniors in Education, this is the final semester taking classes at the University. Come next semester, they will be heading off to student teach full-time at different schools in order to gain experience in their field.

All student teachers get an opportunity to completely take over their mentor’s classroom for an entire month while at their internships next semester. Gallo is especially excited for teaching a third grade class at Everett Elementary School in Lake Forest next semester.

“It will really solidify my desire to be a teacher,” Gallo said. “At that point, it’s like you know you can do it before you even start your real job.”

Allison Fabbri, senior in Education, said she felt the same about her third grade class next semester at Patterson Elementary School in Naperville. She’s looking forward to gaining complete control over the class and receiving a real-life experience in her field.

“It will give me a taste of what it will really be like next year if I get a job,” Fabbri said.

For the time being, seniors in the Education program are teaching at schools in the C-U area while also taking classes. They teach at their respective schools in the morning five days a week, and then come back to campus for their other classes.

Kevin McDermott, senior in Education, is currently teaching first grade at Sangamon Elementary School in Mahomet. He gets the opportunity to observe in the classroom and teach lessons in reading, writing, literacy and math.

“I teach anything that the teacher would normally teach in that time frame,” McDermott said.

Good teachers must have certain qualities. Teacher must be accepting of their students and have the ability to make their students interested in what they’re learning about and forget that they’re in school, Fabbri said.

“I think that you just have to love kids if you’re going to be a great teacher,” Fabbri said.

It’s a bittersweet ending for these seniors who have to miss their last semester to teach full time, but many are excited to take the next step in their careers. They are looking forward to be able to truly gain experience in their field and make an impact on their students’ lives.

McDermott experienced this firsthand when one of his first grade students was struggling with counting to 20. When the student finally learned it, he shouted number 20 to show his pride in his accomplishment. McDermott is eager to continue these kind of experiences at Maple School in Northbrook, where he will be working next semester.

“You make an enormous impact on a student’s life,” McDermott said. “Especially if you’re a good teacher.”

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