Ashland High School Graduate Interns in Celebration, Fla., through Ashland University Program
A senior at Ashland University, Heidi Roland experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to student teach this past semester in Celebration, Fla., through the University’s Southern Internship Program.
Roland and three other students at Ashland University were not just enjoying the warmer weather down in Florida, but were keeping themselves busy with the amount of responsibility they were given.
The student teaching opportunity, which lasts six weeks, is open to all education students at Ashland University. Roland and the other students went through an application process as part of Ashland’s Southern Internship Program that allows students to do student teaching in a number of southern states.
Roland is the daughter of Charles and Kimberly Roland of 2310 Twin Leaf Court in Ashland. She is majoring in physical education and planning on graduating this upcoming May.
“This was definitely a different experience for me considering the classes were held outside,” Roland said. “It is a new option you can try and I would recommend it to others if you want to step outside your comfort zone.”
While in Florida, Roland was teaching physical education to students who were in kindergarten through fifth grade and the class sizes ranged from 60 to about 160 students. She said the large classes presented challenges, especially since she would have some of the same students several days in a row and they had already learned the lesson.
“Even though I was dealing with many different kids, learning that I know I can teach classes ranging from 60 to 160 kids was a huge accomplishment,” she explained.
Roland, who taught for a full school day each day, was the head teacher for that six-week period and taught the classes on her own. For safety reasons, two regular physical education teachers were there to observe her, she said.
Even though the whole experience seemed intimidating at first, Roland would rank it as one of the top five best experiences she has had in her life. She explained that she loved working with the students, even though they were very different in their ethnicity or how they communicated.
“Some of them were not even able to speak English, which made it hard on me, but hand signals became very helpful,” Roland said.
“The most memorable thing that I can take from this, besides the whole experience itself, is the relationships that I made,” she said. “From the kids and teachers, to my host family, and to the other interns, I developed relationships that I will never forget.”
Roland describes the Southern Internship Program as a great way to have the independence of going somewhere to teach without leaving the United States. “You receive support but not as much as you would at home, which gives you the chance to learn to be on your own,” she said.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.