Hilary Suber, Early Childhood Education Major, Teaches English in France

Hilary SuberHilary Suber, an Early Childhood Education major and French minor from the graduating class of 2015, is teaching in Montpellier, France. She is teaching at three schools; two are in the same town, and the third is in a smaller town about 7 minutes away. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, the school day begins at 9 in the morning, with teachers arriving around 8 am to prepare for the day’s lessons.  There is a small break for about 15 minutes around 10:45 am during which time the students play outside with minimal supervision and the teachers meet in the teacher’s lounge for coffee or tea and snacks. At 12 pm, there is a 2 hour break for lunch. Students may stay at the school or their parents or guardians can pick them up and drop them back at school at 2 pm.  Hilary states, “This is so different from our school days that it is my favorite part of their school day! The teachers also get a 2 hour break for lunch. They can stay and eat in the teacher’s lounge which most of them do, or they can leave if they would like! At 2 pm, classes resume but the students and teachers take another 15 minute break around 3:45 pm. Then the students go back to class until 5 pm. It’s quite different and I really like the structure of the school day so far!” Hilary explains that another difference between the US and French education systems is that on Wednesdays, “School starts at 9 in the morning and ends at 12 pm so that students may participate in after-school activities provided by the school. Many families cannot afford to provide their children with private lessons and extracurricular activities, so the school provides these activities from 12-5 pm on Wednesdays!”

Hilary teaches 5 classes at each school, with 20-25 children in each class. It has been a challenge for her to learn almost 350 names, but she has made good progress! Students are aged between ages 4-11 and Hilary teaches them entirely in English. Luckily, the education program at PC provided Hilary with a good start to her teaching career, and the program in France also provided her with a lot of useful resources.

PC Alumna Jennifer Ainsworth Named South Carolina Teacher of the Year

Jennifer AinsworthPresbyterian College alumna Jennifer Ainsworth, Horry County Schools’ Teacher of the Year, was named the South Carolina Teacher of the Year on April 23, 2014 during a gala in Columbia. The 1994 PC graduate made history as the first educator to bring that title home for Horry County Schools. Jennifer Ainsworth is a special education teacher in Socastee High’s class for students with mild to moderate disabilities, ages 14 to 21, who learn academics, work skills, and life skills.

Jennifer and other finalists were selected from 81 school districts, the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Palmetto Unified School District, and the South Carolina Public Charter School Districts South Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. All the finalists went through personal interviews with a seven-member state selection committee. During the 2014-15 school year, Jennifer will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement and will serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession.

PC Alumni Start Careers as Elementary Teachers and Male Role Models to Youth

Two PC graduates from the class of 2012 will start the school year as elementary school teachers; but they will have the opportunity to do more than teach. According to MenTeach, a non-profit organization that encourages men to enter teaching, they are among the 18.3 percent of middle and elementary school teachers who are men. “I’m very proud to be a male teacher working with the youth in Sumter County,” said TJ DeVine. “I hope to be a role model for boys that don’t have a father or other male role model in the home.” Ross Jackson (’12) accepted a position at Monarch Elementary School as a third grade teacher. TJ DeVine (’12) accepted a position teaching at an elementary school in Sumter and running back coach for the Lakewood High School football team. DeVine, an early childhood education major and student athlete attributes the supportive network of coaches and professors for his success on campus. He stated, “The commitment of the professors to observe practice teaching in the classroom on a weekly basis served to be very helpful in developing my teaching style and improving on core skills. This is not something I would have received at a larger school.” In the words of Jackson, “There is no greater joy than to see the smile on a child’s face when they do a good job or receive verbal praise. I want to be a teacher that energizes students and is someone they feel they can talk to. PC gave me the opportunity to experience education in the classroom and fuel my passion for working with children.”

Becky Cremer, Class of 2009, Appears on Billboards Around Memphis

Education_Careers_Alumni_Becky CremerBecky Cremer ’09, a the third grade teacher at Idlewild Elementary in Memphis was one of a select group of Memphis City Schools teachers to appear on billboards and buses around the city to advertise the local public school system. An education major and elementary education minor while at PC, Cremer was chosen to participate in the campaign based on her teaching performance: she ranked in the top 5 percent of all 6,000 Memphis City Schools teachers in a recent teacher evaluation.

The Memphis native credits the education department for providing her with the “skills, resources, and confidence” to teach. “No one is ever completely prepared to become a teacher,” Cremer said, “but when I began teaching, I knew what to expect, and I knew what to do. The PC education department gave me the toolbox I needed to be successful right from the start and helped mold me into who I am. And who I am is someone who has the knowledge, the confidence, and the enthusiasm to reach out and make a difference.”