Human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai, said, “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” In that spirit, Sessums Elementary School has welcomed a cohort of 17 University of South Florida teachers-in-training as interns for the past two years. Under the tutelage of mentors, they have observed masterful teaching and honed their craft through guided practice in preparation for taking on classrooms of their own after graduation.
Within this cohort, two special stories stand out. Laura Edwards, assistant principal, actually taught Jasmine Delavan at Kingswood Elementary in 2005. As a 3rd grader, Delavan created a ‘dream board’ where she told Edwards that one day she would be a teacher like her. Her dream is now nearly a reality. Delavan said, “I’ve been blessed being paired with such great support. I’ve been able to dive in and experiment with strategies. Sessums has been amazing.” Her cooperating teacher, Shelly Shannon, reiterates how positive this experience is for everyone: “It has been a great year working together. Like a good marriage, we have the same beliefs and structure.”
Another intern, Hannah Money, interned in Arolyn Mohammed’s classroom, and purely by chance it turns out that Mohammed was Money’s kindergarten teacher. Pointing to a picture of herself in Mohammed’s class, Money said, “I remember her from kindergarten. I remember doing it in her classroom. This experience has been so helpful because we have such a strong relationship.” Administration and teachers at Sessums know how invaluable the interns are. Mohammed mentions, “The kids get more one on one time. They have more of everything,” and Edwards echoes that with more time for individualized attention and small groups, students are making more progress and test scores are going up. It’s a win-win for all involved. The classroom teachers have more hands on deck, the interns have an irreplaceable apprenticeship experience, and the students get more time and attention.
In August, Sessums will welcome a new cohort of interns who will embark on their two-year journeys to prepare for having their own classrooms. Perhaps right now, a little boy or girl has his or her own dream board and will walk through the doors as a former Sessums Stallion on a journey toward teaching. What is clear is that Sessums is impacting the future of education in ways far more reaching than they can ever imagine.
For more information or to find out how you can support Sessums Elementary, contact Laura Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessums Elementary is located at 11525 Ramble Creek Dr. in Riverview.