From a hallway in Nollen Hall, the faint sound of an alarm can be heard at 4:45 a.m., followed by the sound of a Keurig spouting out a warm cup of coffee. A student teacher drags herself out of bed and prepares for another day at Libertyville High School.
This student is Amanda Modloff ’17. She is one of 16 seniors student-teaching this semester.
As a secondary education and English literature major, Modloff has spent the last seven semesters at Lake Forest College preparing herself for the classroom by taking 24 courses to fulfill both majors. All of this has led to her final semester, in which she participates in “total teach.”
“Total teach is basically being solely in charge of planning everything for four classes, implementing everything while you’re alone in the room with the students, and grading all their work,” Modloff said. “It also involves creating a detailed lesson plan for each day, being observed, and being videotaped.”
Modloff teaches two freshman literature and composition courses, as well as two sophomore world literature honors courses. Along with creating and implementing unit objectives and course work for Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, she is enrolled in two courses at the College. She is also captain of the poms team, president of Kappa Delta Pi, and is applying to be an education leadership consultant through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
“It’s very time consuming on top of being a student and applying for certification from the Illinois State Board of Education,” Modloff said.
However, this is not Modloff’s first experience in a classroom. Last spring, she did fieldwork in an English language arts classroom at Miguel Juarez Middle School in Waukegan. While it was a big transition to teach high school students in exceptionally different circumstances than her middle school students faced, Modloff has embraced the challenge and has not let it deter her from her passion for teaching.
“My favorite part of student teaching is when you can feel [from]the environment that the kids are learning and enjoying it,” she said.
While Modloff teaches at a high school, other education majors are student teaching in elementary education. Danielle Muci ’17 teaches all subjects in a fourth-grade classroom at Sheridan Elementary School in Lake Forest. Even though her students are younger than Modloff’s, her experience in total teach is similar.
“My favorite part of student teaching is getting to do what I want to do for the first time,” Muci said. “Even though we had fieldwork, it wasn’t the same because I was there for only half the day. Now, I am there all day every day, and that’s my focus. I am finally getting to do what I want to do with my life.”
Professor and Chair of the Education Department Rachel Ragland explained that the education major is an intense program that helps students to prepare themselves to be exceptional teachers in the classroom. For Modloff, the program has proven to be on the more rigorous side, but she has seen it as a chance to test herself.
“It’s definitely been a test of endurance,” Modloff said. “You have to be really resilient and reflective in order to be constantly improving. Professors provide you with multiple opportunities that test you to see if you have what it takes. They give you more coursework than you can ever imagine—I had 13 textbooks for one class—[as you gain]teaching experience.”
The program has proven to be beneficial for Modloff in her pursuit of her dream career.
“I wanted to become a teacher because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life,” Modloff said. “I want to be able to make changes in the individual lives of students that they, in turn, can use to create a better world.”