By Hannah Benson
People always speak to how Elon is committed to hands-on learning, and the School of Education
here is no exception to the rule. In fact, education majors might have an edge in terms of experience compared to students of other majors all around the university, because these students are often working in classrooms with real students from their very first semester of college.
Can you imagine producing for a major television show your very first semester? Talk about hands-on experience.
What’s even more interesting is that there are campus jobs for students that are assisted by financial aid that can actually get paid to work in a classroom, which doubles as experience for education majors, as well. This program is called America Reads.
The America Reads is the focus of the America Reads Challenge, an initiative started in 1996 by the Clinton Administration. In August 1996, President Clinton proposed a national literacy campaign that would enlist a “million volunteer tutors ready and able to give children the personal attention they need to catch up and get ahead,” so he said in a speech. The federal government would play a crucial but limited role as a catalyst in building the President’s “citizen army” of reading tutors.
Sophomore student Marcella Mastrocola, an education major and employee for America Reads testifies that the program really is both helpful for her career as far as experiential learning goes, and helpful for her bank account, as she makes money doing what she loves through the program.
When asked about why she loves the program, Mastrocola says, “it’s a really great way to get experience working in a classroom while also getting paid. It’s a really unique opportunity, because I don’t know anyone else who gets real experience in their field every day with a paycheck. It’s such a dream come true.”
Mastrocola wakes up early a few days a week and commutes for 15 minutes to Marvin B. Smith Elementary School in Burlington, NC. This is where she works in a kindergarten classroom.
Kristy English, another sophomore studying Education attests that the program, while she isn’t involved has always, “caught my eye, because it’s an excellent way to start working in a classroom and to get paid while doing it. I’m planning to get involved and apply next semester; it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
“The kids make my early morning wake-up time worth it,” Mastrocola says, “the time just flies with them.”