Silver Lake College education students Amanda Kudick (above left) and Aubrey Ley. Photo by Suzanne Weiss
SLC education student Courtney Clavers (below). Photo by Benjamin Wideman
By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Education students typically spend a semester of student teaching before they earn their degrees.
Three Silver Lake College education students are satisfying their student-teaching requirements through paid teaching internships during the spring semester. That means they’re earning credits and paychecks, too.
“Earning a paid internship is a competitive process, which entails applications and interviews. Receiving the award allows the students to be paid for their work during student teaching, which is very rare,” said Dr. Michael Hardy, assistant dean of the School of Education.Courtney Clavers
Senior Courtney Clavers of Brillion, an early childhood and elementary special and general education major, has landed a paid internship in special education at Sunrise Elementary School in the Kimberly Area School District.
She was inspired to pursue the field by her big brother, Spencer, who has Down Syndrome. “We’re really close,” said Clavers, who has supported her brother through her involvement in Special Olympics and other activities.
“When I started attending Silver Lake College, it became important for me to become more of an advocate for special needs,” said Clavers, who also has a cousin with autism. “That’s when I decided that becoming a special needs teacher is what I really wanted to do.”
Working with special-needs children will help her fulfill her goals of making a difference and “showing the world that everyone is unique,” she said.
Clavers learned about the internship, the next step towards her goals, through her college advisers. It is made possible by the Wisconsin Improvement Program.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity because it’s in a different area of the state with a different population of students than those I’ve worked with in Manitowoc and Brillion,” she said.
Clavers accepted the position on the day of her visit to the school.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s really hands-on and I’ll be able to put what I’ve learned into action. It’s a great learning opportunity.”
For senior Aubrey Ley of Manitowoc, an elementary education major pursuing a minor in biology, her desire to teach in the Fox Valley was the catalyst.
“I like the area. I can see myself there long term,” she said. “When I heard about an internship in Kimberly, I thought it was perfect, and I applied for it. I sent in my resume and began the interview process about three months later.”
Her initial interview was with five principals. She was called back and asked to read aloud to a group of fourth graders while a principal and group of teachers observed.
“They called me about two days later, and I accepted the position,” Ley said. “I was ecstatic. When I applied for this internship, I thought of it was a long shot. With each interview, I tried not to get too excited. Now that it’s a reality, I’m very excited and can’t wait to start.”
Ley will be co-teaching sixth grade at Maple View Intermediate School through the Wisconsin Improvement Program coordinated by the Department of Public Instruction. She will be taking over several subjects in the classroom.
“I really like how Silver Lake College gets you out into the field, so you can see what the profession is going to be like. It’s individualized, and they challenge you to improve your teaching. I love working with kids and seeing that love for learning in kids. It’s a career I can be passionate about,” Ley said.
“Internships are a great opportunity for our student-teacher candidates. The student teachers still have the support of a mentor teacher from the school district and a college supervisor but also have a deeper level of responsibility for part of the teaching day,” said Dan Minter, chair of the education department.
For senior Amanda Kudick of Kewaunee, double-majoring in elementary education and secondary math education, her internship means going home.
She will be student teaching seventh-grade math at Kewaunee Middle School, her old alma mater. The paid internship was awarded through the Kewaunee School District, which contacted her with the offer.
“I’ve done all my field service clinicals there, and they knew I wanted to eventually work there. I already have many connections with the school. I coach basketball and tennis there,” Kudick said. “They were very helpful and supportive of me. All of the teachers and the principal have always been willing to go out of their way to help me.”
Kudick started working with a Kewaunee math teacher in early December as she prepared for next semester. “She’s an experienced teacher, so I’ve already learned a lot from her,” Kudick said.
Because the teacher she is working with will soon have a baby, Kudick will take over the class when that happens.
“I’ll be teaching by myself and preparing all the lesson plans,” she said. “I am really excited because I always wanted to teach in Kewaunee, and this is one step closer to my dream of teaching there.”
Throughout her life, teachers and coaches have been role models, she said.
“They have done so much for me,” Kudick said. “I want to be that role model for others.”