The classroom where Gabby Fecher ’17 teaches English at Lamoille Union Middle School is very familiar to her — it’s where she worked as a student teacher when she was in the education program.
In her first year teaching there after she graduated, she knew half of her students. “That was so exciting. I feel very lucky,” she says. “Student teaching was good because it prepared me for real life.”
Education Students Know What to Expect in the Classroom
Vermont State University’s education program is filled with real-life preparation for students, many of whom earn teaching licensure before they graduate.
“The education department builds on what you learn. They start right where you’re at and scaffold it up,” Gabby said. “You get into the classroom more. You get into lesson planning … I went into my job after graduation knowing what to expect, and I felt really good about that.”
As a student teacher, Gabby worked full-time teaching and planning lessons. She got helpful feedback by discussing her teaching in her education classes and with her adviser, associate professor Kathleen Brinegar.
“When you leave college and step into the job market,” she said, “it makes all the difference to feel that you’ve been well-prepared and are equipped.”
Close Connections With Faculty Help Students Excel
Professor Brinegar helped Gabby during the process of applying for jobs, interviewing for positions, and preparing for her first class of students.
And, Gabby still keeps in touch with the professor for occasional guidance. That reflects the close relationships students and faculty can build because of the small classes and supportive campus. “Part of the reason I was academically successful was because of that face-to-face interaction and knowing my professors and fellow students,” said Gabby, who lives in Johnson. “The professors know who you are and where you’re at in your classes. That’s big.”
Now licensed to teach secondary English, Gabby plans to earn licensure to teach secondary social studies to broaden her options.
She’s Already Making an Impact in Her Field
Although she’s just starting her career, Gabby has taken advantage of leadership and career development opportunities. She worked with her school’s English department to develop a curriculum to match Vermont state standards. And she has presented about families, diversity, and bullying at conferences.
With about 70 students, Gabby enjoys the creativity of teaching. “You often don’t know the impact you’re having on students until later. I’m a new teacher, but I’ve already had students come back and thank me,” she said. “It’s nice to know you’re a positive influence.”