Future teachers learn from Jackson-Milton students


Four Youngstown State University students are spending the semester in elementary school – teaching, that is.

Education majors Jennifer Gaskell-Mauch, Lauren DeLaurentis, Jasmine Thompson-Francisco and Jennifer Felt observe and assist teachers and students at Jackson-Milton Elementary School to get a better idea of their future profession.

“The students love it. It’s one extra teacher, one extra helper that they know that they can go to for extra help as well as extra ideas,” third-grade teacher Cyndi Cline said. “I love it. I think we kind of bounce ideas off of each other,” she said of Gaskell-Mauch as they took a short break on Wednesday.

Gaskell-Mauch, 38, said she will receive her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education after student teaching in the fall. On Wednesday, she was helping students with currency at their math stations and with rocks for science.

“The kids love (the rocks), too. They enjoy them,” she said, explaining that the students’ presence also promotes a better teacher-to-student ratio.

Thompson-Francisco, 30, was helping kindergarten student Ron Bogdon, 7, with an activity at a computer station.

“I love the experience. Nothing has benefited us more than having hands-on experiences with the kids. It’s a great experience,” she said.

DeLaurentis spent part of her day observing second-grade students, helping with activities and reading to them.

“I’m helping whoever needs help. I’ve always loved kids and I like to see them do well. When they get something, it makes you feel good because they understand the information,” she said.

Thompson-Francisco said she learned one activity can turn into another lesson entirely, and plans to use a writing technique she witnessed at Jackson-Milton when she becomes a teacher. The technique involves having a student draw a picture, such as a unicorn, and then write a sentence about it.

The other students in the class can help out by adding additional sentences, turning it into a group lesson and also identifying problem areas such as nouns or verbs.

“That’s been one of the best things I’ve seen so far,” she said.