Learning to Teach
As an NVU student, education major Morgan Sargent ’17 taught solo at Stowe Elementary School for two weeks as part of her fieldwork. During that time, she had laryngitis and quickly learned to overcome a classroom challenge while teaching science to 14 kindergartners.
She used a microphone to amplify her voice to the class. “I had a great relationship with those kids. I think they understood that they needed to be respectful and listen to me because I wasn’t in the best place at the moment,” Morgan says. “It went great.”
That’s because of the preparation and hands-on experience Morgan had in NVU’s education program. She worked at Stowe and Cambridge elementary schools with children in different grades in various roles, from a semester of student teaching to observing classrooms, teaching occasional math and literacy lessons, and working with students in special education classes. Along the way, she got good advice from longtime teachers.
NVU Gave Her the Opportunity to Learn by Doing
“I definitely felt like the fieldwork NVU has you do and getting experience with the various grade levels was really helpful. You can read as many books as you want, but you’re not going to learn as much as you do by being in the field,” says Morgan, of Morrisville, now a special education teacher at Waterville Elementary School. “It’s so hard to gauge how you will handle a difficult situation just by reading a textbook about it.”
In her NVU fieldwork, she observed how teachers dealt with challenges, and she gained insight on working with children with behavioral issues. “It was great to be able to talk to people who have been in the field for a long time,” Morgan says. “I don’t think I would be in this career if not for Johnson. Before that, I didn’t have any real idea of what teaching was going to look like…It was a great, comprehensive education.”
A Close Campus Community
Part of that comprehensive education was the dedicated faculty who mentored Morgan. “The faculty were so helpful. They were easy to reach out to and very supportive,” says Morgan, who is considering pursuing a master’s degree in education at NVU-Johnson because of her positive experience as an undergraduate.
Morgan also benefited from campus activities. She liked the convenience of the small campus and gained a sense of community from the welcoming environment, playing the flute in NVU’s concert band, and residence hall life. “Living in the dorms was like having a second family,” she says.
With a New Career, She’s Already Making an Impact
Now Morgan is part of the Waterville Elementary family. She knows the hard work — and the pleasures — of teaching.
“I have one student who has made incredible progress, and I’m really proud of him,” she says. “When I met him, he had some significant deficits, and the growth he’s made since the beginning of last year is incredible…Seeing how much the kids trust you and seeing their progress, even on a daily basis, feels very rewarding.”
Although Morgan is just starting her career, she’s proud of her own progress in the education field.
“The fact that I got through all that work at NVU and landed in my ideal career was a big achievement,” she says. “I look at myself now and how I accomplished that, and NVU was a huge part of that accomplishment. That feels awesome.”