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Five Students Honored as the 2013-2014 Outstanding Future Educators

Each year Indiana teacher preparation programs send hundreds of their graduating students into classrooms across the state to complete the student-teaching requirements for certification.  The Indiana Association of Teacher Education Colleges (IATEC) sponsors the Outstanding Future Educators award to honor future teachers who—based on scholastic achievement, student teaching experience and community involvement—show outstanding promise.

This year three College of Education students were nominated as well as two from the college’s teacher education program.  Award winners from the College of Education were Ciara Carter who is doing her student teaching in Crown Point, Indiana, Katelyn Pahud who is student teaching at the Earhart School in Lafayette, and Keri Lyn Allen, an elementary and special education major who is student teaching at Edgelea Elementary in Lafayette.  Hilde Thayer majoring in engineering/technology teacher education and Laila Lemcharfi who is majoring in family and consumer science were also nominated. We caught up with three of the award winners to hear about their experiences:

Katelyn Pahud (Elementary Education)

What do you attribute to your success?

I didn’t originally start in education, but after I entered the College of Education, I think the Purdue block system really helped me prepare for success.  In fact, I frequently meet with a first year teacher at Earhart who graduated from Purdue last year.  She told me that the first year is by far the hardest.  However, having come out of Purdue’s system, you will definitely be ready for it. 

What have you been teaching your students?

The last few weeks, I have been free to create my own lesson plan. I bring together ideas I learned in my teacher education classes and in the CLEAR program.  In the second grade, the students have been learning about animal life cycles.  I have been lucky to be working with students while we were using an incubator to hatch live chicks.  This is such an exciting unit for the students. Each of the students kept their own scientific notebook using drawings and written descriptions to record what they saw.  In this way students learn about creativity, observation, and the importance of recording their thoughts.

Keri Lynn Allen (Elementary and Special Education)

How’s student teaching going for you?

My student teaching placement was in a kindergarten class at Edgelea Elementary in Lafayette.  It is my first time working with students this young.  It surprised me how much attention they need and how valuable routine is to them.  At first they struggled with simple things like learning the sounds that letters make, but within a short time they were writing sentences and telling stories.  It was amazing to see how quickly they develop in the first year of school. It was also amazing to watch how my sponsoring teacher, Jill Howell, could be so patient and persistent.

What have you been teaching them?

This past week was “Insect Week.”  I helped them model the lifecycle of a caterpillar.  The students made an egg out of a little pom pom, then they constructed a caterpillar out of paper towels, and finally created a chrysalis that opened into a butterfly made out of coffee filters and pipe cleaners.  It was truly exciting to see how much my students could learn and how curious they were.  They seem to learn most quickly through creative, hands on, activities.

Laila Lemcharfi (Fall 2013): FACS (Family and Consumer Science)

Tell us about your student teaching experience.

I did my student teaching at Tecumseh Junior High School in Lafayette last semester teaching 8th grade family and consumer science.  I taught a number of food labs and other hands-on learning experiences.  For example, one of the programs the students really responded to is a project called “gallon man.”  In this activity students cut out shapes in colored paper and used the shapes to create a cardboard man.  The shapes represent the relative sizes of units of measure–a gallon, a quart, a pint, and a cup. By placing these shapes in body positions, it makes the relationships much more memorable.

What challenges did you face?

I think that the thing that most impressed my mentoring teacher was the relationship I developed with one particular student.  He was outwardly disruptive the first day that I began teaching and he really tried to test me.  I handled it calmly, but wondered why he was so challenging.  I wanted to understand more about him so I talked to his counselor.  I discovered that he had a tough home life and often had to stay at school alone waiting for his ride, long after all the other students had left.  I struck up conversations with him outside class time and he started to open up to me.  He stopped being disruptive in class and on the last day of my student teaching, he surprised me with a big hug and said “I think you’re going to be a great teacher!”

Congratulations to our Outstanding Future Educators and to all the new Purdue teachers who will be starting in classrooms this coming fall.