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Experiential Learning: Teaching Assistant (TA) Spotlight

The McKay School provides many opportunities for experiential learning. One of these is being teachers assistant (TA)! A TA typically assists a professor with tasks such as grading assignments, leading discussions, holding office hours, and providing additional support to students. We recently caught up with Hannah Wakefield, an Elementary Education major who is helping Professor Paul Ricks with his Children's Literature class.

What are you studying? 

I am studying Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. 

What are your hobbies? 

I love playing pickleball and volleyball when it is nice weather outside! I also love watching movies and reading books in my free time! 

What are your goals after graduation?

I have an internship lined in the Nebo School District for next Fall. I will be teaching 4th grade at Canyon Elementary School in Spanish Fork. I am hoping after my internship year I will still be able to stay at my school and continue teaching! I also hope to go back and get my masters in School Psychology while I am teaching in the next couple of years! 

Any advice for people in your major who are just getting started? 

Try and take information from each class that you are in. Teachers are needing to be lifelong learners to be the most effective and so it is important to make sure that we are seeing the importance of every class that we are in. Use your professors as a resource. Professors are here to help you succeed, they aren't trying to make you fail. Talk to them, learn from them, and let them help guide you to the overall goal of becoming a teacher. Always have the end goal in mind, I want to be a teacher.  

Why did you decide to TA for your current class? 

I decided to TA for Children's Literature with Paul Ricks because of how much I enjoyed his class. I walked out of his class every class period learning about new books that I would want in my classroom library. I also really enjoy being able to hear different opinions about why people either like or dislike books and that is a major part of Children's Literature.  

What have you learned while being a TA? How can you apply this to your future classroom? 

I have learned so much from being a TA. I think the biggest thing that I have learned is the importance of having diverse books in your classroom library. I think that this is really key to understand for future teachers because we need to make sure that students can see themselves in the books and feel like they are important and wanted in their own classroom. Having these diverse books doesn't mean that you have to read all of them to the whole group, but having them accessible can be really impactful to a loving classroom community.

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