Mechanicsville interns, Kayla Matthews, Cassandra Fridinger, Danielle Paulochik, Megan Klein, Kacy Pohlhaus, Kara Morris
“This year I have learned a lot, from planning all the way to seeing how the students can change from one day of the week to the next. By being there every day I feel more involved in the learning process and as a part of the kindergarten team. The teachers here are so welcoming and want to see you do well and for me that is the best an intern can ask for” (Kara Morris, 2015).
Mechanicsville Elementary school located in Carroll County, Maryland has been a PDS partner with Stevenson University for the last 16 years. During this time they have supported countless numbers of sophomores, juniors, and senior interns. How is it that this partnership has withstood the test of time? It is simple. The teachers and staff at Mechanicsville are dedicated to helping those who wish to be successful in the field of education through continual learning and data driven instruction. The staff at Mechanicsville is open to new ideas and encourages interns to test new theories in the field of education both in their lesson plans and their action research projects. Interns are also given the opportunity to learn a variety of concepts including word study, running records, technology tools, behavior and behavior management strategies. Each day in placement presents countless learning opportunities for interns.
According to Kacy Pohlhaus (2015), “The best part about interning is the fact that everyone surrounding you knows you’re an intern. I feel like I have an entire school supporting me in everything I do. My mentor teacher is amazing. She encourages me to try new things, take risks, and just immerse myself into the classroom. I'm not afraid to try teaching anything. If I make a mistake, the students and I laugh about it together and we move on. I have a very safe and comfortable teaching environment. I love interning because I'm there to learn!”
The current interns are actively making the most out of their spring semester. They hold a “Lunch Bunch” twice a week for third grade students who are struggling with fact fluency. During “Lunch Bunch” the students eat and play fact fluency games. Students are excited to learn and are excited to work with the interns. In addition, fact fluency is directly linked to the third grade Student Learning Outcomes making this a win for everyone involved. The interns are then taking the knowledge that they have gained from organizing this event and applying it to Mechanicsville’s Parent Academy which is designed to help parents learn what they can do to support their students at home.
According to Cassandra Fridinger (2015), "There have been many opportunities for us to be involved in school wide activities, such as Multicultural Night and Parent Academy. The teachers and administration invite the interns to be involved in as much as possible. There have been some great opportunities, providing us with community and parent involvement, in addition to the experiences in the classroom. Internship comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences. The students are the reason for doing what we do and they offer a new perspective each day. Internship truly allows us to take a role as a member of the Mechanicsville staff and experience the many different aspects of being a teacher."
During their internship at Mechanicsville, the Interns have gone above and beyond their Stevenson requirements to become active participants in the Mechanicsville community. Through the community interaction, they are gaining knowledge and a passion for their students. Kacy Pohlhaus (2015) shares, “This experience has given me priceless time working hands-on with students. I couldn't be more thankful for all of the opportunities I have been provided at this amazing school.” The Interns' passion is summed up best by Megan Klein (2015) who states, “Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career. My students this year are just not students they have become my kids, they have become a part of my heart. They are teaching me as much as I am teaching them."
Written by Danielle Newell, Mechanicsville Professional Development Coordinator