The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Education

March 22, 2006

OBA, NWOSU grad enjoying her job as fourth-grade Taft teacher

Annie Jenkins had to weigh the pros and cons of what was offered to her as she pursued her first teaching job shortly after graduating from Northwestern State Oklahoma University last spring.

She had done her student teaching requirements at Taft Elementary School under the guidance of first-grade teacher Raymie Holland.

The 1999 Oklahoma Bible Academy graduate was seeking a teaching position for first-graders. Enid Public Schools offered her a job teaching fourth-graders at Taft.

“I already knew the teachers and administrators at Taft. I absolutely loved it. But then I had to weigh it out and decide whether I wanted to wait for a first-grade teaching spot to open somewhere else,” Jenkins said.

She decided to pursue what Taft was offering her and is glad about her decision today. It’s been a learning experience for her.

“I notice a wider freedom of teaching. There is a broader spectrum,” Jenkins said about the differences between teaching at the two levels.

First graders start on a clean slate. They are embarking upon school as a full day and need to develop their social adaptation to the task at hand.

Fourth graders have a few years experience of full day schooling under their belts. Teachers work more on the learning curve.

“There’s more hands-on teaching involved. You give them (fourth graders) more responsibility. If they are behind, you work with them. I was amazed at the diversity of learning at the two levels,” Jenkins said.

Regarding her educational training from NWOSU that she described as “excellent,” Jenkins realized that understanding theories of learning and applying them in real-life settings, such as the classroom full of students, were two different distinct things.

“I thought coming in,I had great head knowledge. I learned the most, however, when I student taught,” Jenkins said.

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