Student Teachers Shape Young Minds

By Scott Craig   |   June 11, 2024
Head of the Class: Hannah Goodloe, Carissa Corrigan, Allyson Hawkins, Taylie Scott, Natalie Streed, Kelly Vivanco, Alyssa Hernandez, Maddy Janzen, Becky Huff, Heather Roell, and Elizabeth Callahan (photo by Brad Elliott)

Westmont’s Education Department honored its eight elementary and three secondary student teachers, who all earned California Preliminary Credentials, at the Celebration of Teaching event April 26 on campus. Interestingly, the three secondary teachers previously earned bachelor’s degrees in music at Westmont. The annual gathering also thanks cooperating teachers from Adams, Canalino, Carpinteria Family, Cleveland and Vieja Valley Elementary Schools, Santa Barbara Junior High School and San Marcos High School. 

Becky Huff, who taught a second-third grade combination class at Carpinteria Family, spoke about “The Five Ps of Teaching:” patience, peace, praising God, praying, and playing. “I brought a stuffed bear named Josie to school with me every day to help me manage behavior and to comfort my students,” Huff said. “We even elected Josie president of the classroom during the lesson on the voting process.”

Kelly Vivanco, a third-grade student teacher at Canalino, shared the results of mastering a million skills in her talk, “The Entertaining Role of a Teacher.” “Students are growing in their writing, learning to type, practicing revision — and I’m their writing coach,” she said. “We’ve sung together. Studied water droplets together. Written our opinions. The students’ growth is thrilling. The wonder of discovery palpable.”

Taylie Scott, a former standout defender on the Westmont women’s soccer team, learned to see the similarities between being a coach and a teacher while teaching fifth grade at Vieja Valley. “Whether it’s winning a championship or mastering a hard math concept, the joy of witnessing growth and achievement is unparalleled in both teaching and coaching,” she said. “In essence, teaching is coaching the mind, guiding students through challenges, celebrating victories, and preparing them for success in the game of life.”

Alyssa Hernandez, a fifth-grade student teacher at Cleveland, shared how her lesson to make slime failed, but improvising and adapting led to valuable lessons and a more engaging learning environment. “Just because the lesson didn’t go according to plan doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success,” she said. “Both slime and shine are part of being a teacher and make every moment worth it.”

Allyson Hawkins, who taught a first/second-grade combo class at Canalino, stressed the importance of dedication, faith and perseverance in overcoming challenges and becoming a successful educator. “Now that I’m on top of the student-teaching mountain, the view is beautiful and inspires me to continue scaling new heights in my teaching journey,” she said. 

Hannah Goodloe, a kindergarten student teacher at Cleveland, shared how teaching is not just about academics but prioritizing students’ needs and well-being as well. “I was and still am reminded every day of the common purpose that all teachers have: To teach each child not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well, to help kids learn as well as know how to learn, and to have a lasting positive impact on students so they in turn create a lasting positive impact on the world,” she said. 

Maddy Janzen, a second-grade student teacher at Vieja Valley, said teaching is not just about imparting knowledge but building meaningful relationships with students as well. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to get to know them on an even deeper and more individualized level,” she said. “I believe that has made all the difference in my ability to teach them effectively. It would be unreasonable to expect a second grader or anyone for that matter to learn from someone who isn’t invested in them.”

Natalie Streed, a first-grade student teacher at Vieja Valley, emphasized the importance of fostering a nurturing environment for students. “I want to be committed to integrating this powerful philosophy into my classroom,” she said. “I will strive to create an environment where love and support are at the forefront for my students. Building strong relationships with my students, understanding their unique needs and fostering personal growth will be my priorities.”

Carissa Corrigan, a student music teacher for all the students at Adams, stressed the cognitive, emotional and social benefits of music education, which she likened to eating vegetables. “One of my goals during my student teaching was to create a lesson that turned vegetables into smoothies and bring joy from music to all my students,” she said. “I worked hard to incorporate material that would be relevant and interesting to my students while still providing them with the nutrients to build musical literacy.”

Heather Roell, who taught music at Cleveland Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, and San Marcos High, says despite the challenges of COVID and being a non-traditional student teacher, she found joy in helping her students grow and develop while she strove to empathize with them and understand their unique experiences. “We’ve all had to put our teacher hats and brave faces on,” she said. “We have had experiences that have been really challenging for us, and we pat ourselves on the backs for just getting through the day sometimes.”

Elizabeth Callahan, a student teacher of music at San Marcos, described this season of her life as being full of dynamic learning opportunities, using a musical term that refers to the volume or intensity of the phrase or the moment. “Dynamics make the music really special,” she said. “I’ve had to work hard to adapt to the unique dynamics that come with teaching and assisting classes at multiple school sites, and I will continue to learn and grow in my knowledge of classroom management, lesson planning and overall music instruction.”  


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