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Secondary Education Students Get Taste of Teaching at MHS

Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019
SMSU Secondary Education majors at MHS
SMSU Secondary Education majors at MHS

A group of 26 Southwest Minnesota State University Secondary Education students recently took on the role of teachers at many classrooms at Marshall High School (MHS).

The students are in Toni Beebout-Bladholm’s Teaching and Learning Process class. Beebout-Bladholm is an English teacher at Marshall High School, a 2006 SMSU alumna and an adjunct English instructor at SMSU. She coordinated the two-day “SMSU takeover” with a group of students “that represent a number of majors — agriculture, PE, health, chemistry, math, music — most disciplines,” she said.

Beebout-Bladholm has benefitted from working at both schools, she said. “Because I work here (at MHS), it’s been easier to place the students with my colleagues and friends.”

She said that during the semester, students “come and observe the classes, they get to know the students and the classroom mentor teacher. They gather curriculum materials and write lesson plans and incorporate their own take on the standards and curriculum at MHS.”

She said MHS Principal Brian Jones “is really supportive of these young educators being at Marshall High School. The entire staff there has been very supportive.”

The MHS students enjoy having young educators in the classroom, too. “The feedback we’ve received is that the students are excited to have college students in the classroom because a lot of them are on the brink of going to college and the students enjoy talking to them about how they figured out what  to do with their life. The SMSU students tell them what college is like, and they appreciate the shot of youth in the classroom.”

The students keep a journal throughout the semester and “I cried when I read some of them,” said Beebout-Bladholm. “They talk about the students in their journals,” she said. “One of them read, ‘You can teach everyone where to put a comma, but you can’t teach how to love kids.’”

The two-day experience reinforces the students’ decision to major in Education, she said.

“The Education department at SMSU is doing really good things, and they have a really great partnership with local schools, which is important today with our teacher shortage.”

The experience has residual benefits for the students and the district, too, she said. “Some students have ended up being junior volleyball coaches, one is helping with the wrestling team. The students have developed relationships within the high school.”

Jones said the fact that Beebout-Bladholm teaches at both locations is a real plus. "We've worked with the Education Departmnt at SMSU for a number of years, and having her being an adjunct at SMSU presents a unique opportunity for SMSU students. It gives them an opportunity to work with veteran tachers in a larger, diverse high school and gives them opportunities they can draw upon when they student teach and interview for future positions. We've had good success with it, and hope it's something we can continue in the future," he said.