Critical Hands-on Experience Comes Early for Future Teachers at LIU Post
Morgan Lyle,Assicoate Director of Public Relations
Long Island University, LIU Post
Brookville, N.Y. - Aspiring teachers typically cut their teeth during student-teaching placements. But LIU Post education majors don’t have to wait until their senior year to start getting critical hands-on experience.
They have the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one with children through special programs and camps on LIU Post’s beautiful North Shore campus. As volunteers and interns, the education majors have the chance to work with special populations, such as gifted youth and children with developmental disabilities.
Ashley Alesi of Bethpage, N.Y., a student in the master’s program in school counseling at LIU Post, volunteered with the iCan Ride program, which is co-sponsored by the campus’s Center for Community Inclusion and the Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation. This program helps children with Down syndrome, autism and other disabilities learn to ride two-wheeled bicycles.
“By the end of the week, the person I worked with got up on two wheels and was riding all by herself, and it was truly amazing,” she says. “It’s really inspiring.”
Alesi also worked with LIU Post’s Center for Community Inclusion, which provides services to children with developmental disabilities and their families. In this placement, she received special training to prepare her to be paired with a student with special needs with the goal of helping that student participate in activities with the general population at LIU Post’s nationally accredited camp.
Danielle Siebner, also of Bethpage, is a senior elementary education major with a concentration in Spanish. She has dreamed of becoming a teacher since kindergarten and has worked at LIU Post’s summer camps for the last three years.
In her coursework, she has learned how to incorporate technology into the classroom and has gained an understanding of the need for a teaching methodology based on students' goals and ambitions. But she says that her work with summer campers has been one of the high points of her LIU Post experience.
“I love seeing kids grow,” Siebner says. “You leave an impact on them. You see the improvement, and you know you're one of the reasons.”
Special needs students offer a particular opportunity and challenge, she says. "It's a longer journey from the beginning to the end, but the difference can be so impressive.”
For sophomore childhood education major Angelica Rivera of Queens Village, teaching art to third-graders in the LIU Post Center for Gifted Youth’s elite summer program has been a lesson in keeping young children focused on their tasks.
“It’s not an easy job to work with little kids, but I learned how to interact with them, what to say when they need help,” Rivera said.
“There is a demand for top-quality teaching candidates, and increased clinical experiences--like working with children of all levels at summer camps--are invaluable. Our students’ work with diverse populations is vital in terms of their preparation for a teaching career,” says Dr. Michael Hogan, associate dean for clinical education and professional certifications at LIU Post. “This kind of diverse field experience brings them to the head of the pack.”
LIU Post’s College of Education, Information and Technology has longstanding affiliations with dozens of school districts, public libraries and other organizations, providing students with opportunities for internship and student-teaching placements and a forum for nonpareil networking.
Senior Ryan O’Kelly of New Hyde Park – a second-generation educator – says his experience with youngsters in LIU Post camps and special programs will be valuable this fall, during his student-teaching placement at PS 49 in Middle Village, Queens.
"I love the positive energy that comes with being a teacher," O’Kelly said. “Every kid wants to learn. You have to find the way to get that out of them. Everyone has his or her own way of learning. When they get to the next level, you get an enormous feeling of satisfaction, because you have helped them get there.”
The LIU Post College of Education, Information and Technology offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. In addition to teacher education, the college offers degrees in educational administration, corporate learning and development, clinical mental health counseling, teaching English to speakers of other languages, library and information science and computer science and management engineering. Its degree programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, the American Library Association, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and other prestigious agencies. LIU Post has been named a Best Regional University by U.S. News and World Report.
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