Internship turns students into teachers


Illustration by Scott Gonzales

Anna Marquardt, co-a&e editor

As senior Emily Stern stood facing a class full of eager 5th grade students, she began teaching the lesson she had spent hours preparing for in her Teaching Internship 461 class. After taking five semesters of Child Development classes at South, Stern now visits Glen Grove Elementary School every Gold 3 class to help teach her students history and reading skills.

South students in Teaching Internship 461, also known as Level Four Child Development,  intern at local schools to gain experience in working with children, constructing lesson plans, and leading discussions, Tori Tenuta, Child Development Teacher, explained. This semester, her students are commuting to Glenview schools Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Springman Middle School, Glen Grove Elementary School, Lyon Elementary School, Winkelman Elementary School, Willowbrook School, and Henking Elementary School, for their internships.

“High schoolers go off-campus to a daycare, elementary school, or middle school for the whole semester,” Tenuta said. “They’re paired with a teacher and then teach in those classrooms.”

Stern spent this semester getting to know her students and helping the teacher wherever she can, occasionally teaching a lesson to the entire class, she explained.

“We’re required to teach four lessons to the whole class anytime in the semester,” Stern said. “I usually walk around the class and help students.”

Being a part of Tenuta’s Child Development classes has been extremely helpful for her future, Stern said. She credits Tenuta for fostering her love for teaching, which has inspired her to pursue it as a career.

“[Tenuta] was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher,” Stern said. “[Tenuta has] helped me step out of my comfort zone [and] find a career that I am passionate about.”

Tenuta acknowledged the privilege her students have to gain real-world experience as teaching interns. However, she expects each student to take their role seriously and treat it as a real job.

“[Level Four students] are working with kids [and] parents [who] are trusting our high school with their child,” Tenuta said. “It’s important that [students] follow our expectations and [are] a good [representation] of our program.”

Spending her time teaching in a 2nd grade class at Willowbrook School, senior Rachel Buchanan was proud of the progress that each of her students made throughout the school year. Buchanan said that she was assigned to the same class for both semesters, allowing her to really get to know each student individually.

“I’ve found different ways to communicate [with] kids that don’t always understand [topics on] the first try,” Buchanan said. “It’s so cool to see a kid that goes from barely being able to add [to] now multiplying.”

Stern, expressing similar excitement, appreciates that she has become a positive role model making an impact on her students.

“Seeing [the kids’] excitement makes [me] feel accomplished that [I was] able to help and hopefully [leave] a strong impact,” Stern said.

Sofia Cole contributed to this story.