Master's Degree - Assignments with children?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by GageGirl15, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. GageGirl15

    GageGirl15 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2016

    Hi everyone,
    I'm in my first semester of my Master's Degree, studying Early Childhood Education to become an Elementary school teacher.
    School is great in general, but I'm having a serious issue with many of my assignments. I have 2 classes this semester, both of which require assignments where I have to work with children in person. I don't know any children! I'm in my early 20's and I'm still the baby in my entire family. I live in an apartment building with all adults, I don't know my neighbors outside the building. I don't have friends with children. Except one, but she is on the other side of the state and my teachers will not accept video chatting as a valid method of working with children.
    One class involves a semester long observation of a child (15-20 minutes once a week) & putting everything together for a final presentation. The other class has 4 short assignments that involve child language/reading samples. I thought about making it all up, but I quickly realized that's impossible when I'm trying to learn child behaviors. I can't make up something I'm only now learning!
    I've talked to my professors and we've come up with a few ideas, but nothing has worked out. I've contacted child care centers, schools, and even the library... yet none of them can help me. They all require clearances which I do not currently have because I didn't know I needed them yet. I wasn't told before I began school that there would be required work with children and that I needed clearances to work in places. I only assumed I'd need them when I did student teaching at the end of the program.
    I work full time in an office (not education related, it's just my regular job) and it's hard to find time to go out and try to find help with this.
    Could I make posters offering free tutoring, explain that I'm a graduate student who is trying to gain experience, around town? Would anyone respond? That's the only last resort I can think of. It's getting very late in the semester, almost halfway done, and I have several assignments I have not done because I literally can't do them, due to not knowing any children. Did I chose the wrong profession? I seriously want to be a teacher, but I guess that since I don't have any experience with children & don't know any, then maybe I'm not meant for it? I thought I'm in school to learn, yet it seems everyone else already has experience.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sep 25, 2016

    You aren't going to like this answer, but I'm going to give it to you anyway.

    You need to change your work hours. At least one day a week, you absolutely need to be in an elementary school, from 9-4. That isn't just for this assignment, it's because you really need to be in schools to see what it's like. I did my initial cert through a master's program too... It was hard financially, but you need to be in the schools.

    For the short-term though, offering free (or reduced-rate) tutoring sounds like a great solution!

    Just know though... The further you get into your program, the more essential it will be that you be in the schools, and the less accommodating your profs will be. Start the process now so that you can spend one day a week in a school come the spring semester.
     
  4. GageGirl15

    GageGirl15 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2016

    Thanks for the quick reply! Oh no, I really agree with your answer! I thought about just going to WORK in a school instead of what I'm doing now. I thought of applying for jobs in schools, just an aide or part time aide, anything. You're completely right, I do need to be in schools to know what it's really like. I will definitely look into some kind of actual work in schools. Thank you :)
     
    Backroads likes this.
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 25, 2016

    You might try a church with religious instruction or the local YMCA that has after school classes. If you are athletic, you could coach soccer or something. Become a scouts leader.
     
  6. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2016

    To volunteer at my school you just need to fill out a background check form and it takes about a week to get cleared. I'd try to keep calling schools.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Sep 25, 2016

    I had a similar situation my freshman year of college. They set up everything that was going to be in a school setting for us, but we had a few child development projects that we were supposed to do with kids we knew. The professors thought it would be easy for us to just use a family member over fall break or Thanksgiving break. I'm also the youngest out of my entire extended family, and being 18 at the time I didn't have friends with kids either. I ended up meeting with the daughter of one of my dad's friends. Can you try that? One of your family members must know someone with a child or grandchild. What about the people you work with in the office? I would start by advertising your free tutoring there, since you're more likely to get responses from people who know you.
     
  8. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Sep 25, 2016

    I had the same problem. Plus I had to find kids of specific ages. Thankfully my friend had nieces the ages I needed. If I didn't have them I didn't know what I would have done. So I feel for you.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 25, 2016

    If you cannot get away all day for one day, try an after-school program like Boys and Girls Club. Trust me when I say they could always use volunteers.
     
  10. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Sep 26, 2016

    I was able to use kids at a daycare as long as I didn't use names or pictures! I didn't need that info anyway. I just needed their birthdays (because the assignments involved them being a specific age)
     

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