Tracey Edson and Katie Cappelletti
In high school, students typically see the same teachers standing at the front of the room almost every day. However, at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, some students are seeing new faces in front of the Smartboards. Some Syracuse University students have joined the J-D teaching staff this year as student teachers in order to develop their teaching skills for their futures.
Three of the five student teachers at J-D this year are working in the math department. Charles Clinton, Dawn Janicki, and Michael Klemperer from the math department are each taking a seat behind their desk for a short period of time to let these student teachers take a shot at teaching. Social studies teacher Eric Ormond is the fourth host teacher. The fifth student teacher, Maddie Iozzi, was working with Melissa Moore in the health department, but she has completed her high school placement and is now teaching health and physical education at the elementary and middle school level.
Balancing the responsibilities of a teacher and student may seem to be difficult, but these student teachers seem to flourish. SU senior Madeline Pickett has another responsibility to juggle as well; she is not only a student teacher in Global 9, she is also a captain on the SU cheerleading team. She seems to be having a good time balancing the two activities. “I like interacting and getting to know the students, and I love being able to discuss similar experiences with my students,” said Ms. Pickett.
Mr. Ormond describes Ms. Pickett as “outstanding.” One reason might be because she makes learning enjoyable for the students. “Maddy is very enthusiastic. She is able to get our attention, even when it’s early in the morning and she makes things fun,” said freshman Katie Sullivan, who has her for Global 9.
Being from California, Ms. Pickett hadn’t heard of Syracuse until she began to search for colleges to attend. “I was not able to visit Syracuse, and actually had never heard about it before I applied when my high school counselor advised me to. When narrowing my decision about colleges, Syracuse ended up feeling like the right choice so I took the leap of faith and committed,” said Ms. Pickett. Although she said she has enjoyed the snow, she plans to head back home to continue her teaching career after her graduation this May.
Another SU senior from Massachusetts that is also graduating in the spring is Sam Leitermann-Long. He has been working in the math department teaching geometry to sophomores with Mr. Klemperer, and has made impacts in and out of the classroom. Mr. Klemperer has seen that Mr. Leitermann-Long works hard to improve his skills. “Sam cares about the students… if a student asks him a question, he’ll take a lot of time to make sure they understand the answer,” said Mr. Klemperer.
His students think he is very resourceful and he helps them whenever they don’t understand the material. “Mr. L is kind and helpful because he knows what he is doing and always makes sure we understand the problem,” said sophomore Chloe Loewenguth, who has him for geometry.
Outside of teaching Mr. Leitermann-Long has some special talents that make him stick out from others. Growing up he was a very good juggler, and he could even do it with knives and fire.
Mrs. Janicki is another host teacher in the math department who is assisting SU senior Lucille Sirois for the next couple of weeks. Ms. Sirois is enjoying her time teaching Algebra and Geometry Honors. “My favorite thing about teaching is getting that ‘ah-ha’ moment from students when they work really hard and kind-of struggle, but when they finally get it and finally understand it, it’s really gratifying,” said Ms. Sirois.
Mrs. Janicki described Ms. Sirois as “gregarious” because she works very well with the students and the students enjoy her company in the classroom. “Ms. Sirois is very helpful because whenever I ask her a question she is always there to answer it for me and she likes to explain things in thorough detail so we understand the material,” said freshman Grace Dimkopoulos who has Ms. Sirois for Honors Geometry.
Winsome McIntosh is the only graduate student teacher and is currently teaching Algebra 2 and Statistics to the students in Mr. Clinton’s classroom. Ms. McIntosh has been at J-D for a few weeks now and is getting used to the routine. “When I first got to J-D I realized how Mr. Clinton’s classroom is very partner-based so I wanted to keep that going, and I have realized that group work and partner work is essential in teaching,” said Ms. McIntosh.
According to Mr. Clinton, Ms. McIntosh reflects on her day’s work by looking at what worked, what didn’t, and why. She corrects her mistakes to improve for the next day of teaching, and “that’s the type of thing that makes a good teacher better,” said Mr. Clinton. Both Mr. Clinton and and the students enjoy having Ms. McIntosh around the classroom. “Ms. McIntosh is very hardworking. I think it is very apparent that she improves every class with her teaching and it is obvious that she is putting in a lot of work and extra time outside of class to prepare lessons,” said junior Lainey Foti.
Before Ms. McIntosh’s teaching career kicked off, she was living in Brooklyn, NY and learned to jump Double-Dutch, which is a jump-rope game played with two long jump ropes that have to cross in a certain pattern in order to do it correctly. “It is more than just jumping, it's more of showing your ability to do certain things in a rope that aren’t really normal,” said Ms. McIntosh. She hasn’t continued jumping since she graduated from high school, however she still enjoys sharing her memories from her high school days.
Many students love having the extra help in the classroom, they find it very resourceful and use it to their advantage.