University Community

Tatum Tatman leverages Experiential Learning award to support instruction at Salt Creek School

A decade ago, Tatum Tatman, a senior at Ohio University Chillicothe, was a sixth grade student. Now the middle childhood education major is completing her professional internship in a sixth grade classroom at Salt Creek School, a small rural school in Kingston, Ohio. She has also secured an Ohio University Experiential Learning Award which she is using to purchase instructional tools for use in her classroom.

Tatman began her internship in the fall, observing in the sixth grade classroom where she is now doing her student teaching. 

Ohio University’s Experiential Learning Awards represented an opportunity to secure outside resources to enhance the learning experience of Tatman’s students at Salt Creek. She has used her Experiential Learning Award funding to purchase books the students use in small groups or book clubs based on their interests and reading levels. She also purchased personal-sized whiteboards the students use to share ideas and write answers to questions.

“Every day we do a word wall where we have the words up for that week for whatever we're learning and each day I give them a word and they write the word on their whiteboard and show me to make sure they're understanding,” Tatman said. “By the end of the week, they're getting it so that is something that I have really liked doing and they enjoy it.” 

Associate Professor of Instruction Karen Corcoran said Tatman has emerged as a teacher leader. 

“Tatum has always sought opportunities for professional growth in her teacher preparation journey,” said Corcoran. “Her peers have benefited from her innovative strategies and resources that she quickly puts into her practice. The real winners of this experiential grant are the students she teaches in her internship.”

As a high school senior, Tatman was attracted to Ohio University Chillicothe because of its proximity to her home and its affordability. She said she knew she had made the right choice once she started her college career at OHIO Chillicothe. 

“I definitely made the right choice. I love it! I have been able to pay for school all on my own through working and scholarships so I will be coming out of college debt-free,” Tatman said. “I’m really grateful for that.”

Tatman advises students preparing for classroom experiences to be prepared

“Make sure that you plan ahead,” Tatman said. “I have the first five weeks prepared for student teaching with all the resources and worksheets.”

That preparation means not having to worry about planning for the next day according to Tatman. Her days start early, but she says fitting everything she has planned into her class periods can sometimes be a challenge.  

Even though she has only just begun teaching, Tatman has already noticed how she is learning and growing through the experience her professional internship provides. When she started teaching, she was nervous, but that soon changed.

“In the beginning, it was really hard for me to put myself out there,” Tatman said. “I was terrified.”

Being able to purchase books and personal whiteboards for her students to use in the classroom helped Tatman feel more confident, connected, and comfortable interacting with the students in her class. 

“I have learned so much about the kids and what the kids like to do. I'm so much more comfortable now,” Tatman said.

Tatman has cherished her time at OHIO

Tatman’s favorite OHIO memories featured evening study sessions both on and off campus with friends, especially last semester when she and other education majors were preparing for a teacher test. 

“Although you're studying, there are so many laughs and it's just so fun,” she said. “You all can have the same ideas on things, and if you don't, then you talk about it and you can bounce ideas off each other about education and students.”

When she is not teaching at Salt Creek School or is involved in her own classes, Tatman provides childcare and serves as a tutor, both privately and through OHIO Chillicothe’s Student Success Center.

Tatman said her favorite classes were the education courses taught by Corcoran and Jeanie Dalton. Not only did she learn a lot and have fun in the classes Corcoran and Dalton taught, but she also felt inspired to do well because she knew that the professors cared and wanted her to succeed. 

Ohio University’s Office of Undergraduate Experiential Learning is now accepting applications for the Experiential Learning Student Awards. The application is open to undergraduate students on the Athens campus and all regional campuses. Students may apply for any amount between $100 and $1,000. Spring proposals are due March 10 and recipients will be notified by April 14.   
Application materials, submission guidelines, and examples of past awards can be viewed on the Experiential Learning website.

February 7, 2023
Staff reports