First Grade Teacher, Larry C. Kennedy Elementary School, Creighton Elementary School District #14, Phoenix, AZ
Alyssa Becker '17 Graduate
Major: Elementary Education
1. What did you like most about the Education Program?
What I like most about the Millikin education program is that we are able to participate in education observations starting freshman year and major internships starting our sophomore year. Millikin's Performance Learning program has truly helped me to grow as a person and educator. I have had four years to take what I have learned in my courses, and try them out in my field experiences. This has helped me to recognize and build upon my own strengths, and improve as an educator.
2. What was your favorite moment in an internship experience?
One of my favorite moments was during my student teaching, at the end of my 14 weeks. It was my last day with my students and cooperating teacher. My teacher provided time for the students to work on gifts for me all morning, and some of the students asked about my favorite colors, animals, and things to do. As I was receiving cute signs, necklaces, and handmade books about our time together, I received a very special gift. One of my students, who did not want to be in school and adamantly avoided his work throughout the day, handed me an out-of-the-box gift. He had made me a turtle house with a turtle swimming outside after stepping down from a stepping stone. Lots of careful and precious thought went into this creation. The most precious part of this gift was the note he sneakily stuffed inside, which unfolded to say, "I hope to see you again." Immediately tears came to my eyes, as a I thought about the hard work and progress this student has made over the 14 weeks we spent together. After many private conversations and hard work on both ends, this student grew to love school, learned to read, and became confident in himself, and what he could do. We worked together to change his attitude about school, and what he was capable of. How amazing!
3. What was your favorite education course and why was it special to you?
My favorite education course was Children's Literature, taught by Dr. Onerora. I was able to delve into my long lost love of reading, and further explore avenues of reading I had never thought to try. This course expanded my knowledge on children's literature, and allowed me to be better prepared to attend to children's interests in my future classes.
4. Are there any other exciting memories or experiences you would like to share to future students?
I was fortunate to participate in the Chicago Center of Urban Life and Culture, and complete my student teaching experience in Chicago Public Schools. I learned about this program, as a freshman, and mulled over the idea of attending. After much careful consideration, I decided late in my 7th semester to enroll in this program. Being the only Millikin student and growing up in a town, I was nervous to live and teach in Chicago. Through the program's orientation week, I quickly made friends, learned to navigate the city, and was exposed to a deeper understanding of Chicago's neighborhoods. During the semester, I was able to experience a wonderful student teaching experience, life-changing friendships, and memorable trips around the city. I immersed myself in the culture of the neighborhoods, found my own corners of the city, and learned things about myself I didn't know. This experience was life-changing and empowering. It propelled me to make bigger decisions, even when they may be scary, and gave me the confidence to follow my heart. I would recommend this program in a heartbeat!
5. What advice would you give incoming education students at Millikin?
To absorb everything you can. Immerse yourself in your internships, and the Decatur and Millikin community. There is so much to learn from your experiences during internships. You will learn so much about the population here, and about yourself as a person and educator. Take risks, and never be afraid to try something new. You never know what you will take away from it.