Major: Elementary Education
“The longer I’m at Towson University, the more I love it,” says Jennifer Reef, who transferred to Towson from Community College of Baltimore -- Essex.
Reef, a single mother of two young children, appreciates the flexibility and financial support Towson offers non-traditional students like her. In addition to financial aid, she received the Mary Jacqe Marchione Memorial Scholarship, an award from Baltimore County for education students who are of Italian/Sicilian descent.
Education students benefit from the opportunity to do internships and field work in a variety of settings, says Reef, who has taught in public and charter elementary schools, in both the city and suburbs.
At Tunbridge Elementary Charter School in Baltimore City, for example, she learned how teachers support and connect with students in and out of the classroom. “They help students who are feeling overwhelmed with ‘Pax Place,’ a safe space in class where the children can take a break. One teacher helped a student learn how to ride a bike. The teachers’ connections with students were really inspiring.”
As a result of her experience in the classroom, Reef learned to create engaging lesson plans. “I think about how I would feel as the student. ‘Would I be restless?’ ‘How long would this lesson keep my attention?’
“It makes lessons more meaningful if they are connected to real-world issues and if you can show how they overlap with other subject areas.”
Outside of her academic studies, Reef gains additional experience teaching at Towson’s summer College for Kids camp.
What’s more, her study abroad experience at the University of Barcelona enhanced her knowledge of Spanish. Reef says practicing her language skills helps prepare her for internships in schools where most students speak English as a second language.
Reef also counts Towson’s supportive faculty as an important part of her teacher preparation. “My professors are invested in me and in my education. I can always call on them for academic and personal support.
“They really go the distance for me. I would not be where I am today without them.”