Head of the Class
Kayla ZapcicClass of 2021 • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
LEARN BY DOING
- Internship, Sudlersville Elementary School
- Sports Writer, The Elm
- Relay for Life
- Varsity Field Hockey
Since the beginning of her sophomore year, she has been interning at Sudlersville Elementary School in Queen Anne’s County, shadowing and student-teaching in both kindergarten and first grade classrooms. After being accepted into the program at the beginning of her junior year, she is on track to earn her teaching certification in the state of Maryland, alongside her human development major.
Working closely with the education department, Kayla is grateful for the guidance of her professors. “When it comes to finding your placement for your elementary school field experience,” she explains, “[the department] is very diligent, making sure you have everything you need.”
After finishing most of her distribution requirements, she began focusing on her education course load throughout her sophomore year, while simultaneously shadowing in a kindergarten classroom. “I love bringing the values and concepts we learn at Washington College to real life in the classroom,” she adds.
The next year, in a first-grade classroom, Kayla put her teaching skills to the test - writing and teaching her own lesson plans independently. Each week in her Processes and Acquisition of Reading course, she writes a lesson plan, three of which will be taught throughout the course of the semester to her first-graders. Bringing her own lessons to the front of the classroom is nerve-wracking, yet exciting. “Using the Maryland State Standards, I get to think of my own lessons and create fun, learning activities to bring to my class.”
In the education department, seniors are expected to teach full-time throughout their spring semester, a plunge that Kayla is thrilled to take. Immersing herself in the classroom environment, she can’t imagine a better way to prepare for her future as an elementary school teacher.
Back on campus, Kayla is consistently improving her teaching approach, particularly through her coursework. In Professor Clarke-Vivier’s Educational Psychology course, she learned new approaches to teaching, particularly as it relates to a student’s well-being and emotional health.
“We learn about teaching effectively in a classroom, while also making sure we don’t neglect the human aspect of a student,” she explains, “He/She is a human being with thoughts and feelings of his/her own, which we must take into consideration.”
Apart from teaching, Kayla is a Shorewoman at heart. Standing in the crowd at last year’s War on the Shore game, she truly felt the camaraderie on campus. Hundreds of students filled the stands as Goose Nation’s men’s lacrosse team fought Salisbury on the field. Regardless of the loss, everyone was unified and excited, and that’s a moment she’ll never forget.
Kayla's Four Year Plan
Year 1Favorite ClassGeneral Psychology
Imagine taking a course with four different professors, each teaching their own specialty within the same discipline. That was General Psychology for Kayla and her classmates, an experience like none other. “It was really cool to be exposed to so many different teaching styles,” she explains, “while simultaneously knowing that you’re being taught by the best in that field at Washington College.” At the culmination of this class, the foundation was laid; Kayla knew she wanted to pursue a minor in psychology.
Year 2Making the Transition Education Internship, Kindergarten Classroom
As a sophomore, she had already finished the brunt of her distribution requirements; shifting her focus to education, Kayla was ready to begin shadowing in a classroom. Along with her education classes, she began interning in a kindergarten classroom. “The combination of these two things really solidified the fact that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Year 3Learning b y DoingWriting Lessons
In the education department, real-world experiences are limitless. As an intern in a first grade classroom, Kayla is bringing her coursework to life. Writing lesson plans in her Processes and Acquisition of Reading class, she will teach three of them over the course of her first semester. Using Maryland State Standards as a guide, Kayla is thrilled to stand in front of the class, teaching on her own, while engaging the students. “[This internship] is setting me up to be comfortable in front of a classroom,” she says, which is an indispensable skill to learn so early in her career.
Year 4Looking Forward ToStudent Teaching
In the spring of her senior year, Kayla will be in the classroom every day, student-teaching full-time. She is thrilled to take on this new responsibility, learning hands-on with her students, while being mentored by the teachers at Sudlersville Elementary School, as well as her education professors. After graduation, she plans to work in Maryland as an elementary school teacher. “In my experience so far, I really like teaching first grade.”