Early experiences in education

By Renee DiPietro
October 19, 2000

by Renee Di Pietro

Sophomore education majors are getting a taste of their major as they begin field experience every Wednesday, for 10 weeks this semester, a privilege that other colleges wait to allow in the major till later.

Michelle D’Ascenzo, a sophomore, began her first time student teaching this September. The experience made her recognize something new she never picked up on as a student in the classroom: all the work involved in teaching.

“I really love it,” she said. “The days go by so fast and the children are so fun. There are a lot of things that I didn’t notice before I started teaching. I never realized what was involved in teaching until this moment.”

Jeanne Radicone, a junior, is double majoring in secondary education and special education. She loves her field experience this year more than she has ever in the past. Last year her field experience did not run as smoothly because the teachers she was working with were not cooperative. Now, she works with severely disabled students, ranging from 18 to 20 years old at Elwyn, Inc., a nonprofit human service organization for people with special challenges.

“I work with them on the simplest task, and when they get through it, it’s amazing,” Radicone said.

Radicone appreciates how the staff at Elwyn Inc. comes together as a team to create a healthy environment for the children and adults with disabilities.

“Wednesday is my most favorite day of the week,” Radicone said referring to the staff she works with and the students. “We laugh all day long,” she smiles.

Radicone sums up her weekly visits as “very challenging, but rewarding.”

Kim Tart, a junior and special education major, says the college makes a smart move allowing students to start fieldwork so early.

“The new experience is different, but to start early in the field gives you more time to get a taste of what grade you like (to teach).”

Tart is the president of Sigma Rho, the Cabrini chapter of Kappa Delta Phi, which is the National Honor Society of Education. A student needs a 3.5 GPA in his educational classes and a 3.0 in all other classes to be in Sigma Rho.

Allison Hart, a senior, is a member of Sigma Rho and commented on the different activities and community service that one could take part in alongside the field experience. She said they donate money to St. Donato’s in Philadelphia, and to a school in Mexico that campus ministry is involved with through border experience. They also have a jacket/sweatshirt sale coming up, and recently they held a car wash to raise money.

Nicole Rosini, a junior, is the historian of Student Pennsylvania State Education Association, a national organization that promotes education majors involvement with teaching. Rosini is in charge of public relations for the Council of Exceptional Children, a Cabrini chapter of the national organization. CEC is an organization to help those with learning disabilities. Members of CEC plan to do art activities with children with learning disabilities.

“It’s great that Cabrini starts us off so early in the major,” Rosini said. “You get the feel of what you want to be, and starting early helps because if it’s not right for you, it’s not too late to change your mind.”

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Renee DiPietro

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