#PrepareAtPeace: Paige Ingalls ’16, A Day In The Life Of A Student-Teacher

February 11, 2016

UPDATE: Paige was quickly offered a position, and is now a special education teacher at Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School in Cary.

CARY, NC – Penny Road Elementary at 8:00 a.m. is abuzz with activity as teachers and school officials scurry about, readying for the day — it is the calm before the storm. Down a long, bright hallway, student teacher Paige Ingalls, a senior majoring in Education at William Peace University, is all smiles as she sets up for the coming day, swiftly making her way around Ms. Kinney Bloomer’s first-grade classroom.

From table to table and corner to corner, the classroom is laden with posters of the alphabet, numbers, and shapes — all the stimulating references required for the shaping of a young child’s mind. A fish tank hums in the corner as an overhead projector beams onto an interactive board with the morning message, one that is chock-full of blanks for the children to fill in.

In less than an hour, the room will be filled with its precious contents — 20 different personalities all massing between four walls. A humbling thought, and one that conjures up images of anarchy and chaos to those who are less prepared (or non-education majors). However, Ingalls’ nerves are ironclad. Steadfast and calm, her preparedness is evident as she explains her daily schedule as a

student-teacher. She is quick to clarify that for every minute spent in the classroom, there are many more spent preparing outside of it.

“I have worked with student teachers from other universities. And from William Peace, what stands out is that they’re really prepared.”

“It’s not just playing with kids all day, there’s a lot of planning and it’s a lot of work.” She says, assuredly, as a smile overtakes her. “But being around kids all day is a lot of fun.”

At 9:30 a.m., Ingalls and Ms. Bloomer have effortlessly seat the children in a circle on the floor, where both they and the kids take 30 seconds to greet one another. The concept of herding cats is lost on the two, as they take the time to lovingly greet and treat their learners as individuals.

“First we have a greeting, whether it’s a fist-bump, a handshake or a high-five — every kid is getting spoken to, which is really important.” Ingalls adds. “All of these [methods] just really foster community.”

After the kids have expended some of their energy, Ingalls dives straight into her lessons and even shows a brief video about polar bears, after which the children are then prompted to state anything they may have learned from the video. Critical thinking is a reoccurring theme in all of the activities Ingalls assigns to her students. She reinforces the notion that for a child to learn, they must not simply repeat the information given, but instead create questions of their own. For example, “What would you like to know about polar bears?” It’s these kinds of teaching methods that make Ingalls, as well as other WPU students, a cut above the rest.

“I have worked with student teachers from other universities” Bloomer states. “And from William Peace, what stands out is that they’re really prepared. I think that she was ready from the first day — if they were all like Paige, the teaching field would be all set.”

“We’re extremely proud of, not only Paige, but all of our education students here at Peace who are also serving as student teachers.” said Jennifer Russell, Department Chair of Education at William Peace University. “They continually work hard and we are excited to follow their teaching journey after their time at Peace.”

Ingalls is expected to graduate in May, but remains undecided on what specific grades she would like to teach. “I could see myself teaching general [education] K-4” Ingalls speculates. “Since the second-grade I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.”

For more news and feature stories, search #PrepareAtPeace on social media or visit: www.peace.edu/news.