Student Spotlight: Seniors’ Opportunity in North Carolina

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Caroline Dugan

Keisha Butler and Caroline Dugan, '15, hang with elephants while on a field trip to the Asheboro Zoo.

Kayse Schmucker, Co-News Editor

For the spring semester of 2015, two seniors from Baldwin Wallace’s education program are branching out to fulfill their teaching experience outside of Ohio. Keisha Butler and Caroline Dugan have already begun their student teaching work in classrooms in Asheboro, North Carolina thanks to BW’s partnership program.
The journey to North Carolina started well before the spring semester began. Butler, an early childhood education major with a mild/moderate educational need minor, first found out about the partnership on her first visit to BW, all the way back in 2011.
“At the time, I didn’t read too much into it because I was a senior in high school and I wasn’t thinking that far ahead,” Butler said. “Then an opportunity presented itself again a few years later, and I knew I wanted to experience teaching in a different place, so I applied.”
Education students interested in the Asheboro program are encouraged to apply with a supplemental application along with their general clinical practice application for their semester of student teaching. Butler and Dugan were chosen from the final five or six applicants whose applications were sent to the school district for final selection.
Butler has been placed at Donna Lee Loflin Elementary School teaching first grade in areas including reading, writing, science, and math among other subjects. Dugan, an English major and an adolescent/young adult education (grades 7-12) minor, has been placed at South Asheboro Middle School in the 7th grade language arts class of Ms. Kerri Lamb.
“[She] is a fabulous example to me,” Dugan said of her cooperating teacher, noting Ms. Lamb’s accolades of being a nationally board certified teacher and receiving the Asheboro City Schools District’s Teacher of the Year Award for the 2011-12 school year.
Because it is so early in the semester, Dugan and Butler are still in the observations of their student teaching experience, but are looking forward to getting in front of the class themselves. They both accredit their BW education with preparing them for the field.
“All of my methods experiences along with the courses at BW have made me feel confident in my ability to be extremely successful here in Asheboro, North Carolina,” Butler said. “All of the experiences were in different schools which I really enjoyed because I learned how to work with students from diverse backgrounds.”
Cultural diversity is one of the things that both Butler and Dugan mention as one of the most unexpected and rewarding parts of their North Carolina experience so far. “I didn’t expect all the Southern hospitality. People down here are genuinely nice and will start up a conversation with you anywhere, even while checking out at the grocery store,” Butler said.
For Dugan, the hospitality of the school district was the most pleasant surprise: “The district took care of our rent, and then supplied some extra, and on my first day of school assigned me a computer to use while student teaching” she said.
Any minor obstacles—including adjusting to the new surroundings and missing family in Ohio—have been outweighed by the benefits for both Dugan and Butler. “The 65 degree weather outside of the window in January can be pretty distracting,” Dugan added, jokingly.
“Even in the short time that I have been here thus far, it’s evident to me that making this decision to come to North Carolina was worth it for me in terms of both personal and professional growth,” Dugan concluded.
Teaching in Asheboro also opens up the potential job market, Butler adds: “I like not knowing exactly what will happen after graduation because I love both of my options. If I’m teaching in Cleveland or Asheboro I’ll be happy because I’ll be teaching.”