In the School of Education and Human Services, students with majors in both the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Educational, Child and Family Studies work with the Office of Field Experiences to be placed with local schools, hospitals and businesses so they can gain experience in their fields and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations and interactions with people.
Jane Smith, the director in the Office of Field Experiences, said the office helps place students in the School of Education and Human Services in different positions for the Field Experiences class that some students must take as a part of their major. “With Teacher Education, the students do practicums and then they do student teaching,” Smith said. “They also have to meet state guidelines and benchmarks throughout their four years.”
Smith also said she coordinates all the placements for students in the School of Education and Human Services. “I am the liaison with Greenville County Schools where most of our students do their practicums and their student teaching,” Smith said. “[Students also] have university faculty who supervise them in the field.”
The Office of Field Experiences does not just serve the Division of Student Teaching. It also works with students in the Divisions of Educational, Child and Family Studies. “These students also do field experiences in their junior and senior years,” Smith said. “They do a capstone course. I just help find placements for them if they need help finding placements.”
Smith said students in the Division of Educational, Child and Family Studies usually find their own placements for their capstone course. “If they have problems, we keep track of where they all go,” she said. “We just make sure if they don’t have a place, we can help them find a place.”
Teacher Education majors go out on practicums and student teaching only at specific, pre-planned times. Smith said Teacher Education majors go out on practicums all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays one semester in their junior year, and they go out all day for student teaching one semester in their senior year.
Hannah Perreault, a senior elementary education major, said education majors have different experiences they are a part of depending on their academic year. “First year we just go out to BJA and observe,” said Perreault. “Second year we did some tutoring at East North Street and then visited a bunch of schools.”
Perreault also said she has worked with Smith. “Miss Smith is awesome,” she said. “She’s been very encouraging and supportive. For example, when my car broke down, she was one of the people that we contacted, and she was praying for us and wanting to make sure that everything was okay. So, she’s just been really amazing in helping me be successful as a student teacher.”
Elizabeth Madeira, a senior child development major, said she is more on the developmental side of things than on the educational side. “A lot of students focus their child development major into early intervention, which is zero to five [years], intervening before [children] have reached school,” she said. “I haven’t declared that focus, but I am looking to work with children outside of the classroom.”
Madeira has been placed in a field experience that is not classroom related. “My first internship was at the children’s museum, which is in downtown Greenville,” she said. “It gave me a good picture of what working in a nonprofit is like and in working with a diverse team.”
Madeira said her next field experience is going to be working with Prisma Health next semester. “Being a part of Prisma and working in a hospital system and doing pediatric play therapy, that kind of opens up a whole new avenue of things that I could do [after] graduation.”