Gina Peluso ’12, MAT ’13
That's the situation Gina Peluso found herself in this fall, just as she had begun her clinical placement as part of the School of Education's master of arts in teaching program. A third grade teacher called out at the last minute and Peluso was asked to lead the class. It was her first time alone in the classroom.
Talk about first-day-of-school jitters. Fortunately, Peluso's training in classroom management from Quinnipiac prepared her for that moment. She identified a "problem" child right away and asked him to be her helper for the day. The strategy worked like a charm.
"I was more prepared than I thought I was," she said.
As the school year progresses, Peluso will cycle through the different grades, under the guidance of a full-time teacher. After the winter break, she will serve as a student teacher in one classroom for 10 weeks, while the veteran teacher observes.
Peluso works in the school system every day and attends class at Quinnipiac in the evening. "I feel like a real teacher now," she says.
Peluso graduated from Quinnipiac in 2012 with a BA in psychology and continued on in the MAT program. While an undergraduate, Peluso briefly considered a career in clinical psychology and completed an internship with the Yale University Child Study Center. During the same semester, Peluso began her educational field study in a public school classroom.
"I was able to experience both fields side by side," she says. "It was an incredibly busy semester, but in the end the comparison really helped me realize I belong in the classroom. It's reassuring to know this is what I want to do."
Quinnipiac professors have offered guidance and support along the way. "I feel really close to my professors," Peluso said. "I can go to them for anything--knowing they're an e-mail or a phone call away."
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Rebecca Rice's lifelong desire to teach is reinforced by her work experience in real classrooms through Quinnipiac's five-year master's program in elementary education.