Macon State students discover the best
way to learn is to do
By Renee Pearman
Macon State College student Chris
Osier helps Skyview fifth graders Jerrez Cross and Hannah
Rozier work on a social sciences project.
by Renee Pearman
Osier begins his Monday in a Macon State College biology lab and
ends the day in a fifth-grade social sciences class. In one classroom,
he is a student; in the other, he is a teacher. In both roles,
he is learning.
Osier is one of 52 MSC students who are volunteer
tutors at area public schools this fall. In December, he will complete
his associate degree, with a double major in teacher education
and history. In fact, most of the student tutors are education
majors who are taking advantage of an opportunity to get a glimpse
of their future, thanks to the College’s Partners in Education
The MSC Partners
in Education Committee, co-chaired by faculty members Linda Green
and Carol Cheshire, coordinates the tutorial program as well
as other projects in three elementary schools: Skyview and Morgan,
both in Bibb County, and Linwood in Houston County.
In 1985, Macon State “adopted” Morgan as part
of Bibb County’s Adopt-A-School Program, now called Partners
in Education, in which local businesses and institutions work with
public schools to enhance educational opportunities for the students.
established two projects when it partnered with Morgan. The Young
Authors & Artists Conference each spring includes
a writing seminar for Morgan students who submit stories, poems,
essays and illustrations to their teachers. The winning entries,
selected by the teachers, are compiled in a book, and the student
authors and artists each receive a copy of the book and a T-shirt
from the Macon State College Foundation.
Through the tutorial service,
the College provides student volunteers who visit Morgan classrooms
during fall and spring semesters, working with pre-kindergarten
through sixth-grade pupils in various subjects and helping teachers
with their day-to-day classroom activities. At Skyview, the tutors
work with the children individually and in groups, participate
in reading and storytelling exercises, proctor tests and assist
with after-school programs and special projects.
In addition, the College’s Partners in Education Committee
brings artists to the schools. In the past, children’s author
Carmen Deedy, Nigerian dancer Ramatu Mohmud and Zambia musician
Djimo Kouyate have performed at Morgan. Also, MSC nursing students
visit the schools to talk about health and hygiene, and Partners
in Education Committee member Barbara Jolley conducts math workshops.
Macon State College’s Partners
in Education Committee members (l-r) Carol Cheshire,
Linda Green and Susan Hulett show the Extra Mile Award
they received from the Bibb County Board of Education.
by Renee Pearman
Last year, Macon State received a Georgia Association of Elementary
School Principals’ Education Patron Award for its work with
Morgan. This fall, the Bibb County Board of Education presented
its Extra Mile Award to Macon State’s Partners in Education
Committee in recognition of the 1,261 hours of tutoring that MSC
students provided at Skyview during the 2002-03 academic year.
“Our commitment goes beyond what most people view as community
service because we directly work on a sustained basis with these
young children,” said Green, an assistant professor of English
in the Division of Learning Support.
The program was expanded to
Skyview two years ago, and this year, Linwood Elementary, located
near the College’s Warner Robins
Campus, was added.
“We have Macon State students visiting these three schools
throughout the academic year, doing everything from tutoring and
reading to helping with lessons and assignments,” Green said.
Any Macon State student can volunteer with Partners in Education,
but education majors, who are required to work with school-age
children in an academic setting for a certain number of hours per
semester, can fulfill their course requirements through the program.
Often the experience affirms their career choice. “By observing
teaching strategies and helping children in the classroom, our
students can better identify the grades and the age levels they
feel most comfortable working with,” said Susan Hulett, an
education instructor at Macon State.
That’s what happened
in Chris Osier’s case. He originally
wanted to teach high school history, but now he is leaning toward
working in an elementary or middle school after spending time at
Osier believes the best way to learn is to do, and that
is why he asked to return to Donna Wilder’s fifth–grade
social sciences class at Skyview for a second year.
“Ms. Wilder allows me to really learn and not just sit and
watch,” said the 22-year-old. “She is preparing me
to teach. She lets me help with lesson plans and worksheets, and
I get to work one-on-one with the students.”
Osier, a Plattsburg,
N.Y., native who moved with his Air Force family to Warner Robins
in 1985, said his inspiration is his former social sciences teacher
at Rumble Middle School. “His style
of teaching was very hands-on,” Osier said. “He made
history fun. When we studied Mexico, the class had a fiesta. When
we studied Argentina, our class learned how to play rugby. That’s
also the kind of teacher Ms. Wilder is, and that’s the kind
of teacher I want to be.”
Wilder and Dr. Linda Bivins, assistant
principal at Skyview, think Osier is in the right profession. “My
students look forward to his visits because they know he is going
to help them and encourage them,” Wilder said. “Chris
is very patient and forthright with the children, and they appreciate
that. He is learning to be a teacher.”
Bivins said her staff welcomed Osier back to
has the knowledge and the wherewithal to be an excellent teacher,” she
said. “In fact, I know he is going to be an excellent teacher.”