News - Practice Makes Proficient: Learning to Teach

Practice Makes Proficient: Learning to Teach

by Rachel Heston-Davis Practice Makes Proficient: Learning to Teach

When it comes to being a teacher, some skills only come through practice. Andy Mulholland ’15 thanks Greenville University for giving him ample practice.

“I got to spend far more hours in classrooms [as a student teacher] than most of my peers,” says Andy, who now teaches high school physical science and physics in Canton, Illinois.

“Greenville University has a robust field experience program, which received accolades from the Illinois State Board of Education at its last site visit,” says Associate Professor of Education Karlene Johnson. “GU believes that freshmen need to be out in classrooms during their very first education course.” The University’s program ensures every education major gets experience in rural, suburban and urban settings, as well as special education and non-special-ed classes.

The hours Andy spent observing and emulating seasoned teachers taught him to handle classroom logistics and trouble-shoot common problems that challenge first-year teachers. In his first “real-world” job after college, he sent up a silent prayer of thanks for the insistence on thorough preparation from Greenville University’s chemistry education program. 

Leading Labs, Dorms and Classrooms

Some of Andy’s teaching and leadership experiences at the University included:

  • Lab assistant: “I got to be a lab assistant for Dr. Iler’s General Chemistry I semester,” says Andy, “which was extremely valuable for leading students in labs when I got a teaching job.”
  • Early classroom placement: The University placed Andy into his student teacher classroom very early in the school year so he could see how to establish classroom order fresh off of summer break.
  • RC leadership: Andy picked up plenty of supervisory experience serving as resident chaplain to the men on the third floor of Jansen Hall and the first floor of Joy Hall.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Besides the gift of real-world experience, Andy appreciates another aspect of his college career: social enrichment.

“Get involved,” is his advice to Greenville University students. “There is literally something out there [in the University community] for every type of person to enjoy . . . I met some of my best friends through dorm Bible studies, All College Hike and watching football games.”

In short, he says, take advantage of everything Greenville University offers, both hard work and fun.

“If you put in the work, I promise that it can pay off,” says this competent, equipped educator. “Just don’t forget to have fun along the way.”


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This story was published on October 12, 2017

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