Columbia College Teaching Fellows

by Emily Moore, Junior Fellow

Over the summer, the Columbia College Teaching Fellows have been hard at work making sure that the new cohort on campus feels welcomed, invited, and ready to spend the next four years at Columbia College learning how to be exceptional teacher leaders. Our family of educators has increased for the 2017-2018 term, as CC has seven new members in our freshmen cohort. Returning fellows have also been hard a work furthering their educational endeavors. But before we discuss the hard work and invigorating experiences our returning Fellows experienced this summer, we want to take the time to introduce our exciting new Fellows to the Teaching Fellows Program.

First up is Emilee Fertick, a Special Education major. Emilee, at first, did not dream of becoming a teacher. Instead, she wanted to be a Marine Biologist. In her sophomore year of high school, however, she was placed into a Special Olympics assistance class. After her second week in the class she found a passion that she had never known was there. She then devoted the rest of her high school career to learning more about the field of special education, and she is excited and ready to begin the new chapter in her life that CC provides.

Next, we have Meredith Bledsoe, an Early Childhood Education major. Meredith has wanted to be a teacher since she was five, and she spent many days playing teacher as a child. After spending some time in the classroom, Meredith hopes to attain her Masters in Administration so that she can become a principal of an elementary school one day. She was inspired to become a teacher due to her love for children and the joy she gains from helping them learn new things.

Alexandra Piercey, another new Fellow and Early Childhood Education major, has had the drive to be a teacher from a very young age. As a child, she aided her mother in co-leading Girl Scout Troop #3739 and devoted her time to many different community services opportunities. This commitment to service instilled a sense of community, passion, and drive in Alexandra, and she uses these feelings to help others in need, whether it’s with a math problem or with giving good advice. Her life mantra is: “Encourage yourself, believe in yourself, and love yourself today. Never doubt who you are.”

Meet Allie Blake, a Special Education major who has also attributed her passion for teaching to her numerous leadership and/or community service opportunities. Allie has always loved children and has attributed this love to her service as a Sunday school teacher at her church, but teaching as a career never really crossed her mind until her senior year in high school. During her senior year, she flew to Washington D.C. after being chosen by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina for a leadership trip. While there, she really got out of her “shell” and realized the importance of service learning. She decided to choose teaching as a career after her time spent “student teaching” in her Teacher Cadet class.

Mallory Pannell, another first-year Fellow and Special Education major, has always know that she wanted to teach. Her defining moment, however, came in her senior year of high school, when, during science class, she realized that she wanted to teach special education. During the course, Mallory sat next to a student with a disability, and, over the semester, worked one-on-one with the student on many assignments. After this experience, she enrolled in teacher cadet classes and worked with elementary school students at an after-school program.

Bianca N. Gilyard, an Early Childhood Education major, is eager and ready to get involved with gaining knowledge and experiences with her cohort that will help her further herself as a future educator. Bianca wants to become a teacher because she loves the spark in the students’ eyes or the click in their head after they finally understand something that they have been working on. She loves this moment so much and cannot wait to be the reason why her students are having this sort of reaction. She looks forward to helping to “raise up” and shape the next generation and generations to come to be the best that they can be.

Next, we have Sadie Ray, an Early Childhood Education major who tries to use her own life experiences to try to touch the lives of everyone she meets in her community. She also has a life-long passion for teaching, which started when she “played teacher” with her little brother growing up. She knows first-hand what it is like to move from school to school, as she attended multiple elementary, middle, and high schools throughout her K-12 career. She works at Learning Express, an education toy store, where she gets to interact and teach children.

Finally, we have Kayla Prevatte. Kayla is actually a sophomore Special Education and Elementary Education major, but she is new to the CC cohort this year! She has a passion for teaching because she has a heart for kids and wants to make a positive difference in the field of education. She attributes her love of teaching to her past teachers and educational experiences, and notes that they have inspired her to become an educator herself.

The new Columbia College Teaching Fellows cohort has many eager veteran Fellows to look up to and gain experience from, and many of them have been hard at work over the summer. Our Fellows have jobs, internships, and other educational programs that that are devoted to, and some accomplished some pretty exciting endeavors over the summer.

Caitlin O’Dell, a junior Fellow and Special Education major, had the opportunity to work with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School at Francis Burns United Methodist Church. After attending National training in Knoxville, Tennessee, she returned to a classroom of her own for eight weeks with nine scholars of her own. Through this experience, she was able to gain hands on experience with classroom management and the ability to create classroom connections before her first field experience.

Caitlyn Wolf, a junior Fellow and Middle Level Education major, traveled to Spain this summer to learn Spanish and teach English to children from Spain. She taught students basic things such as numbers, colors, and simple songs such as “head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” Through this experience, she learned so much about the people in Spain including types of dances, food, culture, religion, and way of life. She spoke only in Spanish for three months and became very close to the people around her, making it very difficult for her to leave Spain.

Hannah Porter, a junior Fellow and Special Education major, worked at Camp GG over the summer. Camp GG is a special needs camp for Lexington School District two. She was a teacher assistant in the five and six-year-old class. This opportunity helped her to continue her education over the summer because she got to attend an individualized education plan meeting and learn more SPED terminology. She was happy to be able to be in a classroom over the summer and make more connections with teachers and principals. Everyone was so excited that she attends Columbia College, but they were even more excited that she is a Teaching Fellow there. In fact, many of the people that she worked with this summer went to Columbia College themselves!

Sara Monts, a sophomore Fellow and Dance Education major, was invited to be a guest speaker at her old elementary school, Springdale Elementary, for their annual Celebration of the Arts of May. Celebration of the Arts is a community event for Springdale where all the grades have a different country that they study for months and then display their new diverse knowledge in an all-day celebration. During the day, all different types of artists are brought in to share their talents with the students. She taught dance classes all day long to every grade level and every student in the school. She loved the opportunity to share dance and connect with the students, and this experience made her realize that she is training to do exactly what she wants to do with her life.

Kayln McCollister, a junior Fellow and Dance Education major, worked at Harvest Afterschool over the summer. Harvest Afterschool becomes a summer camp after the school year ends, and within the program students go on field trips and do other educational activities. While there, Kalyn also found a deep respect for all custodians and cafeteria workers because she had to occasionally make lunch for over one-hundred children and help clean up every day after snack and lunch. This experience with K-5 students has shown her that even outside of a classroom, she can learn a lot from children and her coworkers.

Even the Columbia College Teaching Fellows Director, Mrs. Amy Ellisor, led an educational program over the summer. As mentioned in Columbia College’s faculty report published earlier this year, she “provided outreach in public parks and housing projects in the local community by teaching science for EdVenture Children’s Museum. She taught the Science of Sports to children, day care providers, and some family members at the North Main Library, Latimer Manor, Pinehurst Park, and other sites.”

The Columbia College Teaching Fellows are in for an exciting year full of experiences, internships, and teaching practicums to add to the growing list of opportunities they have already taken advantage of over the summer. We are sure that our first years will have a list of opportunities to add to their resumes as they begin their career as future educators at Columbia College!