Frog Feature: Senior education major gains real-world experience

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    After spending her summer teaching preschoolers at The da Vinci School in Dallas, senior early childhood education major Libby Franks said she knew she had chosen the right major. Franks was one of 75 college students selected to take part in local internships paid for by the Exxon Mobil Community Summer Jobs Program last summer. According to the Exxon Mobil website, the selected full-time undergraduate students get eight weeks of real-world experience in community organizations while working during busy summer months.

    Was it difficult to give up your summer to take part in this internship?

    “I was really excited to do it. I’m an education major, so working in a preschool was the perfect position for me. And getting to do it through something like Exxon Mobil was actually really exciting because I knew there were a lot of other people involved in organizations all over Dallas and Fort Worth.”

    What was the focus of your internship?

    “There were several components to it. At the preschool I was actually a preschool teacher. I started out first just actually being an assistant and learning how to teach, then they let me take over and let me have my own classroom for several weeks. I got to go through all the ages, starting with 18 months through seven years old and that was really cool. We did a community service project and there were several seminars and team building activities that we went to to learn a little more about the program.”

    How did taking part in this program improve your teaching skills?

    “Another thing they had us do through Exxon Mobil was that they had us do a project at the school. They were getting ready to move (to) a new campus, so I got to help reorganize the sheds and go through all the unit boxes and that was really cool to see all the different items in the unit boxes. They also had me attend a seminar on positive discipline, which is something that I’m not learning too much about at TCU. I find myself using that in my classes now and that was really helpful.”

    Did you use what you learned from your major in working with the children?

    “I used a lot of things that I’ve learned from TCU at the school. I actually contacted some of my professors from throughout the school year to ask them questions and for ideas about certain students that I was dealing with at the preschool. I asked my professors if they had any lesson plan ideas for certain age levels and there were several kids that had some behavior issues that I was struggling with, so I could e-mail and ask my professors about that for help and that was good.”

    Did this internship teach you anything you couldn’t really learn in from taking classes on campus?

    “Getting to actually be in the classroom, you can learn so much more being in the experience. Getting to do it everyday, and getting to actually be in a school (sitting) around other teachers, it was a really good experience. Getting to try all the different ages and lesson planning for a long period of time, that was really neat.”

    Did this internship reaffirm your choice to go into the education field?

    “I know that’s exactly what I want to do. I never really considered teaching preschool, but I can definitely see myself doing it eventually. That was really cool to know that I have the confidence to teach a preschool class.”

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