“It’s really hard, but it’s very different than what you expect. You are working with peoples children, you’re working with their pride and joy,” Jenny Rodriguez, a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education, said. “After being in the major and knowing that those are people’s kids, you realize that you really have to care about it.”
Jenny is currently in her last year at Auburn and is taking a practicum course where she shadows a teacher at Beulah Elementary School every Wednesday.
“My teacher is Ms. Copeland, she’s a first grade teacher,” Jenny said. “She’s my hero, she’s a rock star with her kids and I adore her.”
Beulah Elementary School is about a thirty minute ride from Auburn Jenny said.
Next semester Jenny will be doing an internship which she said will be like the practicum course except everyday she will be in the classroom shadowing a teacher. They will assign her to a school in the area.
“They won’t tell us which school we will be at until Dec. 28, so everyone has a chance to get everything in,” Jenny said. “They tell us over the break, so I’m crossing my fingers that I get a good school.”
Jenny said that she has loved all the schools she’s been to in the area so she wouldn’t mind being assigned to any of them, but she would absolutely love to be assigned to Wright’s Mill Elementary School.
“What’s ideal for me is first grade, I really connect with first graders like we sort of just get each other,” Jenny said. “I like the feel of the classroom, but I would take anything that came my way.”
Jenny said she was a very late starter to the education major because she didn’t realize she wanted to be a teacher until after her freshman year.
“I was previously a psychology major my freshman year and then I started working at a camp and I started working with a boy who was special needs and it sorta opened my eyes to places that teachers could touch,” Jenny said. “They can touch the hearts of so many kids, they can really open up and show so much love and change those kids lives.”
Jenny said that the application process for the education department was tougher then people would think.
“The applying for the education major was difficult because they try to weed people out it seems like,” Jenny said. “You have to do some pre-teaching, write some essays get through the interview and have the appropriate grades, get fingerprints and you have to do that by the end of your sophomore year if you want to graduate on time.”
The classes education majors take are different from courses in other majors Jenny said.
“In early education it seems like the courses are really focused on reading and building the foundations for kids. Because in your first year at Auburn you take elementary math and then when you get into your cohort you learn the basics for language and grammar,” Jenny said. “It’s not teaching you grammar it’s teaching how to teach grammar, so it’s a lot more in depth and difficult because you have to know the reasons why you are teaching it.”
“We took a music class and I absolutely loved it, I learned how to play piano, guitar, the recorder and the glockenspiel,” Jenny said. “Music class it seems is the first thing they take out so teachers have to start teaching it; I wish they would stop doing that because music teachers do make a big difference on students.”
Another one of Jenny’s favorite classes at Auburn was called physical knowledge.
“I just call it science,” Jenny said. “At that camp, I taught science and then the next year at the camp I was a director where I got to take kids on field trips so it would usually be to scientific places like aquariums and museums, I love science and I feel like kids can delve in and learn much more with science, especially hands on science.”
Jenny said that being an early education major is difficult in different in ways than other majors because you are dealing with peoples children but those who love what they are doing will thrive.
“When you’re in it and if you love what you do, you will keep with it, but you always have to remind yourself how much you love it because there are moments that are very difficult, but people that love it will shine.”