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Four Lamar pedagogy students honored for excellence

Four Lamar University professional pedagogy students are being honored for excellence by the Center for Research Evaluation Advancement of Teacher Education’s (CREATE) Quest for Quality Teacher-prep in Texas program.

Lauren Solis of Nederland, Erica Warner of Mauriceville, Lindsey Stephens of Nederland and Kathryn Renee Vincent of Tyler were nominated by their student teacher supervisors based on performance in the field. Each were honored by CREATE for their performance in student teaching.

Gayle Lynn Fairley, director of office of field work in professional pedagogy department in the College of Education said nominees are selected by their supervisors based on their understanding of assessment and the subject matter, lesson plans and how effectively they communicate concepts to the students.

“They go out into the field and work with a mentor teacher and eventually take over the class,” she said. “It is like an internship program – they don’t get paid for it, but they get credit hours. They take everything they have learned in their university coursework and start applying it in the classroom under the guidance of a mentor. The program is designed to give them the skills they need to work in the classroom.”

Warner said the student teaching experience truly helped prepare her for teaching her own classroom. She said completing her program and becoming a teacher is a tremendous honor for her.

“I love working with children every day and making a difference in their lives,” she said.” It is exciting to meet and plan with a team of professionals who all have the same goal – the success of each and every student.”

Vincent said her student teaching experience gave her the freedom to try different strategies and techniques that helped create an effective environment for learning.

“You also have the safety net of a mentor teacher to catch you when you fall and praise you when you succeed,” she said. “I learned so much about the little procedures and requirements, all of which you can’t possibly cover in your pedagogy courses. I genuinely feel my student teaching experience prepared me for standing alone in my own classroom.”

Solis will also be honored with the Student Teacher of the Year award at the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education conference, held Oct. 21 - 23 in Austin.

Solis said being partnered with a mentor during her student teaching semester provided her with a quality learning experience.

“Being in the classroom for 60 days is a great way to really envelop the teaching experience,” she said. “I am very thankful that LU has a terrific field experience/student teaching program because it has definitely helped me take on my first year teaching in a positive way. I am teaching 24 fantastic first graders this year and I could not be any happier.”

All four students have graduated from Lamar and are currently teaching in their own classrooms in the Golden Triangle area. Kathryn Vincent teaches seventh grade math at Marshall Middle School in Beaumont. Erica Warner is teaching fourth grade English and Language Arts and Texas History at Mauriceville Elementary. Lindsey Stephens teaches first grade at Helena Park Elementary in Nederland, and Lauren Solis is teaching first grade at Tyrell Elementary in Beaumont.