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When Trustee Scholar Jessica D’Arienzo ’03 (Rochester, N.Y.) switched her major to Spanish, she didn’t count on drawing weather maps and building model houses. But those are just a few of the things she found herself doing during a teaching internship at two Bucks County, Pa., elementary schools.

D’Arienzo spent each Friday teaching Spanish to children at the Durham-Nockamixon and Springfield elementary schools, both in the Palisades School District.

“It’s been wonderful,” D’Arienzo says, explaining that she planned half-hour lessons to teach children in kindergarten through fifth grade. D’Arienzo says she created all sorts of visual aids to help the young students learn vocabulary and spent hours outside the classroom working on lesson plans.

“I was surprised at how much time it takes up and how much work it is,” she says. “My first lesson plan took me all day.”

Spanish teacher Sueann Jefferson, D’Arienzo’s internship supervisor, says D’Arienzo has been responsible, enthusiastic, and talented in her work. “She has been a tremendous asset and a great, great help to me,” she says. “And she has been very creative and very self-starting. I’m impressed by the original things she has come up with to help the kids practice Spanish. She also has a very, very nice mannerism when she’s working with children. She comes across as very kind and gentle. I could readily see her being successful teaching at the elementary level.”

Because the schools operate on a six-day cycle and because each class meets only once per cycle, D’Arienzo met with different groups each Friday and prepared lessons for each group. Each lesson included an objective, teaching activities, and a game or activity to assess whether the objective was met. In addition, D’Arienzo described how each lesson met the national foreign language standards.

D’Arienzo, who will be certified to teach Spanish when she graduates from Lafayette, is has been spending the January interim session observing and teaching eighth-grade Spanish classes at Shawnee Intermediate School in the Easton Area School District. She changed her plans to become a physician after volunteering with Lafayette’s America Reads program at the Forks Township and Paxinosa elementary schools.

“I loved it,” she says, adding that her internship reinforced that feeling. “I have learned a great deal about what goes into being an effective teacher and I have learned how to teach students so that they are successful,” she says. “I think the most important thing that I have learned is that teaching is definitely what I want to do with my life.”

A graduate of Irondequoit High School, D’Arienzo is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. She was a chemistry tutor last year and president of the Marquis Residence Hall Council during the 1999-2000 academic year.

Categorized in: Academic News