Rebecca Schnier Discusses Student Teaching

Rebecca Shnier stands outside of James Hall at Rowan University, in front of a bronze artwork that says Knowledge is Power

Meet Rebecca Schnier, a senior Education and Liberal Studies dual major from North Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County). She has a Teachers of Students with Disabilities endorsement and student teaches at John H. Winslow Elementary School in Vineland, NJ.  Today we chat with her about the opportunities she has had to engage in her majors at Rowan University, beyond the classroom!

Rebecca in her office at James Hall.

How did Rowan best prepare you for the student teaching opportunity?

“I think I have had so many opportunities throughout the college of education and just Rowan in general. Working in the Dean’s office, I’ve met so many different people and have heard so many different experiences. I’ve only been in the classroom with younger grade levels but being in higher education and seeing how that works definitely opens my mind to all of education too. There have been so many seminars and workshops that are on Rowan’s campus that I have been able to go to and the professors are amazing. They’ll help you even if they’re not in your course anymore, they’ll still help you if you’re having any troubles with your courses or anything like that.”

Was there a specific mentor that you would turn to about your Education degree? How did they help you?

“My first field experience I had was in my sophomore year at Quarter Mile Lane Elementary school in Bridgeton. I had never been in an urban district so it was totally new to me. I was with a teacher, Ms. Chavez, and I was with two other students in the classroom too. So, it was the three of us in her classroom and I was trying to find my place in not overstepping boundaries but we had some sort of connection going on. I was able to talk to her about my personal life and we just really connected. We still keep in touch with each other to this day, I’ll text her and let her know what I am doing.”

How did you acquire your current student teaching position?

“Well, we have to do it in order to graduate so the department gives us these opportunities. They changed it this year where you have to do a full year of teaching whereas in the past it’s only been a semester. So for this semester, its only two days a week for student teaching but we have courses that go along with it where we have to teach a science lesson and a math lesson that correspond with the classes. Next semester, we are full time student teaching which we still get credit for.”

What has been the most meaningful experience you’ve had at your student teaching position so far?

“I have a student in my classroom who doesn’t really know how to identify letters and numbers yet, so she’s really struggling with her class. She gets so much anxiety from work so, when I’m there I spend a lot of time working one-on-one with her. I try to help her get a little more excited about learning. There was one day where we were trying to read one page, and we went letter by letter, it took probably about a half hour to read a one sentence page. When she finally read it, she was so excited! She was telling everyone how she was reading and it was just the most adorable thing. So, that definitely encouraged me that I was doing the right thing.”

How has your overall experience been so far?

Amazing! It’s been awesome. The school is so welcoming and my cooperating teacher is amazing. She’s actually retiring after this year. She’s so experienced and she’s actually trying to get me to slide into the position next year after she retires! So, I’m extremely thankful for that. She has been so encouraging and so have all the adults in the classroom and the kids as well. The kids have been so open to the idea of me being there and teaching them. I love it!”

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Story and photography by:
Bianca Torres, sophomore music industry major