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Published May 10, 2023
The University of Wyoming College of Education’s spring 2023 student teachers have been transitioning from learning to teaching during their 16-week student-teaching experience. This spring, nearly 150 teachers have been placed in schools across Wyoming and in surrounding states.
Although UW student teachers have many opportunities to work in classrooms during practicums, student teaching is the capstone experience for student teachers. During this time, they test their teaching abilities leading a real classroom under the mentorship of experienced classroom teachers.
Elizabeth McMahan, who leads the student-teaching program in the School of Teacher Education, says student teaching is an important experience for future teachers. Over the 16 weeks, student teachers gradually assume all of the responsibilities of running a classroom -- including creating formal lesson plans; practicing instruction with students; and maintaining an organized, safe classroom environment.
“Student teaching provides our students with the pedagogical tools and experience necessary to connect what they have learned in the classroom with what they are doing in their classroom,” she says. “The residency experience provides our students with an opportunity to have support and feedback from experienced, master teachers while they are still learning and developing skills in lesson planning; classroom management; a variety of teaching strategies; communicating with parents; and collaborating with other teachers and professionals.”
Here are some of the UW students currently serving as student teachers, listed by hometown, program/grade and the communities where they are placed:
Aurora, Colo. -- Frankie Corrado has been in a second grade classroom in a Denver, Colo., elementary school.
“The biggest takeaway from my experience has been that classroom management plays a pivotal role in creating an environment of enthused and inclusive learners,” Corrado says. “The more ways you integrate truly engaging content, the more purposeful each lesson and interaction become.”
Casper -- Lexi Howery has been in a fifth grade classroom in her hometown in Natrona County School District 1.
“I am excited to be student teaching because I am gaining valuable experience for when I complete my degree,” she says. “I hope by the time I am gone, my students learned something from me -- even if it’s one small thing. If they learn anything, I think I will have made a positive impact.”
Casper -- Haleigh Skiles has been in a fourth grade classroom in her hometown in Natrona County School District 1.
“I have learned so many great things so far,” she says. “I have learned the value of fostering relationships with students daily, the importance of being flexible and have gained insight into how to successfully manage a classroom.”
Cheyenne -- Averi Kastens has been in a second grade classroom in Platte County School District 1 in Wheatland.
“I hope to help my students feel like school is an exciting place to be. I want to cheer students on to discover their passions and interests,” Kastens says. “Most importantly, I hope to model kindness, hard work and confidence.”
Cheyenne -- Kendra Redding has been in a kindergarten classroom in Laramie County School District 2 in Pine Bluffs.
“I always try to make sure every student feels welcome, heard and excited to come to school,” she says. “I hope to continue this feeling with all of my students during my residency. By the end of my residency, I also want to have had a positive impact on my students’ education, as I’m always trying to incorporate something fun into their learning in some way.”
Cheyenne -- Breanna Young has been in a 10th grade English classroom in her hometown in Laramie County School District 1.
“My residency has taught me patience, kindness and how adaptable you must be with students,” she says. “Being flexible in how you’re teaching students has been my main takeaway so far, and I’m excited to see what else comes my way during this experience.”
Fort Collins, Colo. -- Megan Butters has been in a kindergarten classroom in Albany County School District 1 in Laramie.
“I hope to become someone my students can come to for anything and help them enjoy school,” she says. “I want to be the favorite teacher they remember who helped them with whatever they were struggling with.”
Gillette -- Zoe Biggs has been in a first grade classroom in her hometown in Campbell County School District 1.
“I have learned that even though the University of Wyoming prepares you for most classroom experiences, nothing can prepare you for the flood of love you get from your students,” she says. “I hope to be able to always spread positivity and high energy to my students. School should be fun, and students should be excited to be there. I hope to be able to make my students experience the love and positivity that my teachers gave to me.”
Gillette -- Alli Hays has been in a first grade classroom in her hometown in Campbell County School District 1.
“I hope my students thrive academically, of course, but, above all else, I just hope they become good people and remember to treat others with respect,” she says. “We’ve been working on honesty and respect while I’ve been student teaching, and I hope my words impact them.”
Gillette -- Lexi Wingfield, who has been in a second grade classroom in her hometown in Campbell County School District 1, says she learned a lot about how important it is to truly know and love students.
“I have learned that if your students feel cared for and respected, they are much more likely to reciprocate those feelings to their teacher,” she says. “It makes learning so much better.”
Hermosa, S.D. -- Lexi McCoy, who has been in a kindergarten classroom in Platte County School District 1 in Wheatland, says she has always dreamed of becoming a teacher.
“I hope that my students leave school every day knowing that I care for them deeply and know that they will become amazing human beings,” she says. “Being a teacher isn’t just content based but also being a life toucher.”
Lander -- Jaclyn Hudson has been in a fifth grade classroom in Fremont County School District 25 in Riverton.
“I was so lucky to be placed in a co-taught classroom where I have the chance to learn from three amazing teachers,” she says. “They have taught me plenty about classroom management, personal relationships, communication and how to have fun in your classroom.”
Lovell -- Abigail Cerda has been in a kindergarten classroom in her hometown in Big Horn County School District 2.
“I am excited to be teaching in my hometown. I love education and helping others,” she says. “I hope to set good examples and be a role model to my students. I want my students to look up to me just like I did to my past teachers.”
Riverton -- Kaylee Dickinson has been student teaching in her hometown in Fremont County School District 25.
“I hope to have a positive impact on my students by being that one consistent, empowering adult in their life,” she says. “I want my students to know that I would always be there for them even if they aren’t my students anymore.”
Sheridan -- Emmalee Hoopes has been in a third grade classroom in her hometown in Sheridan County School District 2.
“I hope to help all of the students in this class to gain confidence in themselves and their ability to succeed in school. I also want each of my students to know that I believe in them,” she says. “Helping them find this confidence in themselves would be the most important impact I could have on my students.”
Sheridan -- Caige McComb has been in a fifth grade classroom in Albany County School District 1 in Laramie.
“I am excited to be student teaching because it is the last step to finishing my degree,” he says. “I also am excited because it is the real-life application of everything I have learned thus far.”
Sheridan -- Reuben Morris II has been in a fifth grade classroom in his hometown in Sheridan County School District 2.
“I get to learn through teaching,” he says. “It’s fun to experience new things, be involved in a community, build relationships and work toward a rewarding career.”
Thermopolis -- Kee Elder has been in an eighth grade English-language arts classroom in her hometown in Hot Springs County School District 1.
“I have learned about data analysis and how to create data-driven instruction. We have covered planning, assessment and student engagement in my time in the classroom, and these lessons will benefit me for years to come,” Elder says. “I also have learned how to have crucial conversations that maintain student focus and cause growth that is unparalleled.”
Topsham, Maine -- Erika Matheney has been in high school social studies classrooms in Laramie County School District 1 in Cheyenne.
“I have been working toward the goal of becoming a history teacher since I graduated high school myself in 2006,” she says. “I’m absolutely loving finally being in the classroom with students, learning from my mentor and becoming part of the education community in Cheyenne.”