Now I Know How It Feels to Work in Early Childhood
Malana Linder, an 11th grader at Pencader Charter high school, is interested in education because her grandmother is a retired teacher. Counselors and teachers have not necessarily encouraged her interest in education because she is a competitive student and Pencader has a business theme. Students there have more contact with role models in business. Malana’s mom encouraged her to seek opportunities to learn more about teaching as a career. As a Summer 2011 High School Intern, Malana gained important insight working with four year olds at the University’s Early Learning Center: I thought this was a simple field. It seemed like a babysitting job in a way before I got the experience. My thoughts and feelings did a 180 [degree turn]; I have a totally different view of this field and have much respect for early educators…it has given me an idea about what age group I’d like to work with…
Mariah Anderson, a junior at Red Lion Christian Academy, found that the orientation and training that the interns had before the placement began was helpful. She noted that she had a great experience because she practices how to talk to the children and according to Mariah, it was important to not go in there like a drill sergeant. Mariah also found that teaching young children is challenging work, and she also thinks that her experience with young learners at the University Early Learning Center this summer has helped her make up her mind about a career direction: …it made me sure that I want to go into Early Childhood Education…I am positive that this is the field for me.
The high school internship program began four years ago with six student interns working in Early Reading First classrooms. The high school interns are mentored by undergraduate teacher education majors. Kara Cashwell, 2011 Early Childhood graduate, serves as a mentor to Mariah and Malana. The high school interns also had an opportunity to meet with Lynn Worden, a faculty member, and learn about state funding that allows students to begin the degree program at Delaware Tech and through the University’s Associate of Arts program.