Learning and teaching during the pandemic; EMCC prepares the next generation of educators
It has been a year since students first moved to remote learning. In that time, teachers and students have embraced new technology, techniques, and terminology in their lessons. For students in the New Vision Education Professions program, they have seen the process from both sides of the desk.
The program is for high school seniors in Monroe County who are interested in a career in education or childcare. Through the Eastern Monroe Career Center, they are able to spend part of their school day at the East Rochester Union Free School District.
“As the student for part of the day and then as a teacher for the other part, you get both perspectives. You see what works, what doesn’t. It allows you to get creative and figure out how to use certain technology to enhance your lessons. For example, the best way to incorporate a Zoom meeting or virtual fieldtrip into your lesson,” explained Sarah Borzilleri, a senior with East Irondequoit.
Through the New Vision Education Professions class, seniors like Sarah can shadow childcare and education professionals. They plan their own lessons and become student teachers, while also learning theory and teaching techniques. The rest of their day is spent at their residential school district, where they participate in traditional classes with their classmates. The program allows them to get their high school diploma while also earning college credits.
“It did put me ahead because I now have a secure idea of what I want to do and how I’m going to get there. It helped build crucial skills for this career,” expressed Olivia Harkin, a senior with Pittsford Mendon.
Students like Olivia and Sarah feel even better prepared for a career in education due to their unique experience of learning and student teaching during the pandemic.
“You have to be creative in getting students engaged. People can easily focus on what we are missing out on, but for many people, including me, school is a bright spot in their day. It is important to find ways to keep that positive outlook. Especially this year, everyone needs the reassurance that everything will be ok and we are all going through this together,” shared Olivia.
The program is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Because of that, it helps students find clarity on the direction of their dreams.
For example, Olivia plans on becoming an English Professor in the future. Sarah would like to pursue early childhood education. But other classmates have discovered through the class that their dreams are taking them out of the classroom.
“I wanted to be a second-grade teacher. Last year, I was a camp counselor and worked with a little girl who had speech trouble. It got me wondering if I wanted to be a teacher or a speech therapist. So, this year I was able to shadow a speech therapist. It was the best thing I’ve ever done,” shared Maria Denysenko, a senior with Pittsford Mendon.
Her classmate Mary had a similar realization.
“I realized I was a lot more interested in the early development of the child. So, I am leaning more towards midwifery than education,” explained Mary Dugan, a Pittsford Sutherland senior. She added, “It opened my eyes as to what I was more interested in, and what I wasn’t.”
Mary and her classmates agree they are grateful for the opportunity to discover that direction while still in high school, before getting into college so they can make the most of their higher education experience.
The one-year program allows high school seniors to participate in rotations in a variety of ER classrooms, as well as in the EMCC Teens and Tots preschool. Students in the program begin the work toward completing New York State Teacher Assistant I certification requirements and gain an understanding of the rigor and requirements necessary to work in the field of education. For more information, visit EMCC's New Vision Education Professions.