Lancaster – An appreciation reception for Fairfield County teachers and Ohio University Lancaster students who participate in the OUL Educational Mentorship program was held on Wednesday evening. The reception was held in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts in Brasee Hall.
The Ohio University Lancaster Educational Mentorship program is a partnership between OUL and school districts in Fairfield County to help extend and enrich the field experience by giving education majors the opportunity to work with a mentor teacher for four hours per week over several years in a supervised clinical model that includes coaching and co-teaching.
Kevin King teaches Physical Science at Liberty Union High School. He's been mentoring Ohio University Lancaster student Sharon Scheidegger for a year and a half now.
"I think it's a good program to get students in the classroom to learn what is really going on from beginning to end," said King. "Every teacher comes in with an idea that they can change the world. Sharon is learning that there are some struggles."
Scheidegger said the mentorship program has made her a better teacher and it also changed the course of her future career.
"I wouldn't have said that I wanted to be a high school teacher a year ago," said Scheidegger. "But, now I would welcome it after the experience I have had with Kevin."
The mentorship program was established more than 15 years ago when principals from the area contacted OUL with the idea. King said he is glad that he is a part of the program.
"I think Sharon understands the students," said King. "She connects with the students. She has grown during her time in the program."
"This program is an elective and not part of the methods course requirements of education majors," said Education Instructor Terri Green. "Participants in the program complete all the regular field hours and assignments assigned by our field placement coordinator, Jane Hart, so they are still getting the same diverse experiences in a rural, urban and suburban environment working in a variety of grade levels and with a variety of teachers. Education majors that choose to become part of the mentorship program get the best of both worlds, the regular methods course placements that offer diversity and variety as well as extended time with a mentor teacher over an entire school year."
Mentors and apprentices can be found in more than 10 school buildings throughout Fairfield County. Enrollment in the program is around 10 students.
"By the time these education majors complete this program, they do not look like beginning teachers," said Green. "They have a great deal of practical knowledge and teaching expertise."
About 40 teachers and OUL students attended the reception. The event also served as an end of the year meeting for the OUL Ohio Student Education Association.