Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 2, Page 13
Winter 1993
On Campus
Teacher Corps tests classrooms

     Education majors who take part in the Delaware Teacher Corps learn
right away if they are compatible with their major, because the program
places students in non-profit community centers as well as public and
private schools as early as the freshman year.
     According to Barbara Van Dornick, the director of student services and
teacher recruitment in the College of Education, "We encourage students to
volunteer in the schools as early as possible so they get exposure to
children. The Delaware Teacher Corps is an excellent way for undergraduates
to get that experience."
     Students may elect to participate in the program for up to three
credits each semester. Spending 30 flexible hours per credit at their
assigned placements, the future teachers help children with their
assignments, read stories to them and grade papers. The teacher corps is
administered by Sylvia Brooks, coordinator of the elementary teacher
education program.
     Laurie Kinas, an early childhood education major, especially enjoyed
the education practicum the first time she did it during a Winter Session,
and was back in the fall for another semester. "Spending time in the
classroom has taught me things I would have never learned in a course. I
now know how to handle things like behavioral problems and parental
confrontations in ways I never would have thought of before," she says.
     In addition to the class time, course requirements include attending
monthly discussions, keeping a daily journal and writing a personal
experience paper.
     While most students have some interest in the field of education, any
student may enroll in the pass/fail elective.
     Brooks says she tries to work with students as much as possible to
ensure they are happy with their assignments. She allows teacher corps
participants to decide whether they prefer to be in an elementary, middle,
nursery or specialized school. Other options include religious-affiliated
sites, community centers, after-school programs and ethnic schools.
     "Our main objective is to reach out and help the communities," Brooks
said. For those without transportation, placements are available within
walking distance to campus.
     Conveniently close to the Newark campus, West Park Elementary has one
third of the 15 students in the program dispersed throughout its
classrooms. Principal David McCarthy, who works around the University
student's schedules and grade-level preferences, says he is grateful for
the assistance, but no one appreciates the extra help more than the
     "The amount of extra time I save when I have help in the class in
unbelievable. Just having my papers graded saves hours alone," says Ernie
Ferraro, a third grade teacher at West Park.
     Nancy Gross, a sophomore elementary education major, sums up the
feelings of several University participants: "Having us (students) in the
classroom is great for everyone. We get experience; the kids get extra
attention; and the teachers get helpers."
                              -Mindy Maslynsky, Delaware '95