May 2-6, 2022 is Teacher Appreciation Week! This week we’re sharing our gratitude for the wonderful cooperating teachers throughout Virginia who welcome our students into their classrooms for practicum and student teaching.
Below are messages of thanks from our students who have worked with these fantastic educators!
Chesterfield County Public Schools
Bon Air Elementary School – Rachel Rohr
Rachel very graciously allowed us to take over her classroom for a few weeks during our practicum teaching period, and both of us visitors from VCU have had a wonderful time working with her and her students. It has been an absolute pleasure both observing and working with her to get a better understanding of what it will be like when we have our own classrooms in the future. A million thanks to Rachel and Bon Air Elementary for giving us such a wonderful learning experience and practicum teaching opportunity.
Clover Hill Elementary School – Kristel French
Kristel French is a saint!!!! She is akin to a disney princess. So full of sincere optimism, completely intuitive, and so caring. Whenever I needed anything, Kristel was there with it before I even knew it. When I was having a hard time, she made it better. I’m so grateful to have been assigned this placement, its been one of my favorite life experiences thus far because of Kristel and her students.
Crenshaw Elementary School – Jennike Duignam
Mrs. Duignam has been teaching at Crenshaw Elementary for 11 years and continues to be the busiest, most supportive and creative art teacher that Crenshaw has ever seen!
I am extremely grateful for my practicum teacher, Mrs. Duignam, because of how supportive and flexible she’s been throughout our learning process! She’s provided us with so many materials and techniques to improve our learning experiences with our classes. She’s also always offered advice, tips, and a helping hand during busy classes! She’s an amazing instructor to learn from!!! – Erica Llanos
She created a really supportive and helpful teaching environment for both of us. Because she was so approachable I felt really comfortable asking questions and getting support from her. Overall she made this experience really stress-free and fun. – Zoe Collin
Crestwood Elementary School – Chelsea Joyner
Chelsea was an absolute joy to work with this spring. A support and cheerleader for her student teacher both personally and professionally! It was clear that the enthusiasm with which her students accepted the student teacher was as much a testament to the student teachers’ work as to the culture of joy and creativity Chelsea had created. Watching the student teacher grow and develop under Chelsea’s mentoring has been one of the highlights of my spring!
Greenfield Elementary School – Rachel Burgett
Mrs. Burgett is an art teacher at Greenfield Elementary School and I enjoyed my time with her and students!! It was so fun to work with Mrs. Burgett as she is a literal ray of sunshine, she is always energetic, and such an amazing art educator. Every time I had a dilemma or didn’t know what to do, Mrs. Burgett would always come up with fun and helpful suggestions. Every morning when Mrs. Burgett and I have a car duty, she always welcomes and says good morning to students with positive energy and a big smile. Mrs. Burgett inspires me everyday inside and outside of an art classroom, and I will miss working with her!!
Salem Church Elementary School – Erika Ogier
Erika made my student teaching experience comfortable for the first minute. Her foresight and in-practice advice gave me confidence and her impact on my career will never be forgotten. Thank you Erika!
Spring Run Elementary – Michele Kelly
My experience working with Mrs. Kelly has been phenomenal! She is a resilient, thoughtful, and kind person. Not only has she opened up her classroom to me, but she’s provided me with the tools to become a successful art educator. I have never felt out of place while working with her and I cherish my teaching experience at Spring Run Elementary. Thank you so much Michele, I aspire to be as amazing as you!
Woolridge Elementary School – Wendi Hobbie
Wendi is amazingly kind, easy to talk to, and very generous with her time and energy! She is always ready to lend a helping hand or an understanding ear! She made me feel safe, encouraged, capable, and cared for every single day, and I had a wonderful time working with her 🙂
Chesterfield County Public Schools
Middle & High Schools:
Clover Hill High School – Haley Ferguson
Haley Ferguson is an amazing role model and she has such a strong connection with each and every one of her students. Ferguson has built such a positive space in her classroom where the students can be themselves and share their true feelings. I am so appreciative to have been able to work with them. I hope to carryout her positive mindset in my own classroom and I can’t wait to build relationships with my students like she has done.
Manchester Middle School – Megan Hartsoe
Ms.Hartsoe is a kind and knowledgeable art teacher and this shined throughout her classroom, interactions with students and mentorship to me and my peers. She was eager to help us in anyway she could to allow us to feel ready and comfortable with teaching lessons and learning how to navigate teaching middle school students. It is clear she has a love for teaching at all levels not just middle school and K-12 but for college students and future art educators. She always talked about how she loved getting to have practicum and student teachers to bring new ideas into the classroom and help them be more confident in their practice.
“I love ALL my students- and they know that.” This is something Ms. Hartsoe said to me and my practicum partners during one of our conversations, and while the sentiment is simple, it deeply touched me. Even though we were only a part of her classroom for a few weeks, it was so obviously true- she leads with love and compassion in every interaction with her students, and it’s true: they know it.
Meadowbrook High School – Amber Kuper
Amber Kuper is the epitome of what it means to be an art teacher. Her knowledge spans over the course of nearly 20 years and throughout the entirety of the pre-k-12 system. The VCU Art Ed department would be at a great loss without her and the vast knowledge that she brings along with her. Her feedback has been nothing but supportive and crucial in order to better her student teachers. Not only does she support her student teacher on a professional level but she ensures that they are receiving all the necessary support that they need along the way.
Meadowbrook High School – Megan Lane
Ms. Lane is an art teacher with a warm and understanding presence in the classroom to her students and colleagues. She incorporates her background and experience of fiber arts into her room as well as a wide variety of techniques and art making to her students. Ms. Lane has been so great at communicating and helping to guide us inside and outside the classroom. She is a stellar example watching her talk to high school students and ways to promote engagement, rich discussion and critical thinking. Ms. Lane has provided me with numerous tips, tricks and suggestions with art making and how to engage individual students and the classroom as a whole.
Midlothian High School – Elizabeth Vesely
Vesely has led an outstanding example of how to have high expectations of students while also showing compassion, understanding, and flexibility. I am also always amazed at her organization skills! She is an excellent teacher and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from her and have her support in my ambitious/chaotic sculpture unit!
Midlothian High School – Kristen Joswick
Kristen Joswick has provided me with a fantastic practicum experience. She has given me the room to grow and flourish, letting me develop my own teaching style. She has also imparted to me fantastic traits such as organization, emotional empathy for students, and a passion for working with students and teachers in building a better education experience.
Midlothian High School – Mrs. Nina Good
Mrs. Good is very dedicated to her students, both in and out of the classroom. She is often involved with fun student activities and keeps up with former students who have graduated. She cares about her students wellbeing as well as their class success. Mrs. Good has been very supportive in allowing both of us to collaborate in teaching her Studio 4 class, and is always prepared with materials and feedback. It has been a wonderful experience working and learning from her.
Robious Middle School – Lisa Conner
Thank you so much, Mrs. Conner, for welcoming me into your classroom! I am so appreciative of the time, energy, care, and knowledge you are sharing with me each week. I have already learned so much from you in these past few lessons. I love the trust, respect, and responsibility you place within your students – you can tell they trust and respect you right back. Thank you again for welcoming me in your space – can’t wait to continue to receive feedback and support from you!
Robious Middle School – Natalie Puccia
My practicum experience this semester with Ms. Puccia and her students have been incredibly fulfilling and encouraging. I have received great feedback throughout my time at Robious Middle School and got out of my comfort zone. I have so much appreciation for Ms. Puccia and the students I have gotten to work with.
Swift Creek Middle School – Christopher Butt
Mr. B is always working to keep up the best relationship with his students possible. He is flexible and always willing to help a student out in order to catch them up with assignments. Modeling this behavior has been really helpful to see in going into my own teaching practice. I can only hope to have more patience and learn to be more flexible as well!
Thomas Dale High School – Shannon Sissokho
I have very much enjoyed my time working with Ms. Sissokho and greatly appreciate her guidance through this period of learning. She has been able to answer all of my questions and provide me with options of what she would do in any given case, to help me become a better teacher. I would just like to say thank you for answering all of my questions and helping me figure out what works and what doesn’t.