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Middle Grades Education

Amy Lee Jones

Picture yourself as an educator, playing a pivotal role in the lives of young adolescents. That’s exactly what Amy Lee Jones did. As a middle grades education major, she’s taking advantage of every opportunity she can in order to become the kind of teacher who makes a lasting, positive impact – just like the teachers she had in school.

“Two of my most influential teachers taught seventh grade math and language arts. Later on in high school, I discovered that I wanted to teach, and the middle grades are a really good fit for me.”

Amy Lee isn’t daunted by working with young adolescents. “Actually, I like middle schoolers. They’re at that age when they want to be in school. They want to learn. And they’re so crazy! These kids think they’re cool and they’re so not. They’re just awkward, which is charming and entertaining. It keeps you guessing and keeps the work interesting.”

She confirmed her interest by spending time in local schools. “My first semester in this program, we spent three weeks observing early childhood classrooms, three weeks in elementary schools, and three weeks in middle schools. That allowed you to verify what level you wanted to pursue. It also helped me understand all the different levels of development.”

Now, she’s gaining a strong foundation in teaching methodologies. “Everything we cover in class begins to make sense when we go out in the field and put it into action. When we moved from observing classrooms to teaching lessons, I got to work with the Charleston County Teacher of the Year. I watched her teach and then got feedback from her on my lessons, which was awesome. At the same time, I was also getting feedback from professors”

What’s her best student-teaching memory? “Using song lyrics as a way of teaching figurative language. We looked for similes and metaphors and the students loved it. I used lyrics from a variety of musical genres and different artists like Rascal Flatts and Kanye West. The students had to identify the creative language in the lyrics, what it meant and why it was more effective than just saying it directly. That was teaching.”

Program Information

Our program teaches you how young students develop and hone literacy skills and how they comprehend mathematical concepts. It teaches you the most effective means of instruction for social studies and science. Our majors understand how to create effective learning environments and how to balance the needs of students who learn at a different pace. Ultimately, we produce versatile educators who don’t just teach, they affect emotional, intellectual and social development in each of their students.

Facts

  • Carefully designed courses and supervised public school teaching experiences.
  • Strong support and guidance from our Office of Certification and Clinical Practice.
  • Our graduates are actively recruited.
  • Our students’ scores on the PRAXIS II exams are above the state and national averages.
  • Our program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).