Each student was asked to write a thank you letter to their classroom host teacher with a focus on sharing what they had learned in relation to the Educational Psychology course as well as personally. They were asked to share those letters with Professor Cassidy and Nell Anderson, the Praxis Coordinator for the course, so that they could better understand the various outcomes of the Praxis fieldwork. Several of those letters have been shared below.
Dear Mrs. P.,
As the semester comes to an end, so does my time at the Overbrook Educational Center. Thank you so much for welcoming me into your classroom and allowing me to interact with your students. This experience has been fantastic because it allowed me to draw connections from what I learned in my Educational Psychology class. I am inspired by the way that you maintain control of the class while still showing your students that you care. One of my favorite moments of my observation was when a student was talking when he wasn’t supposed to, and it turned into a back-and-forth discussion when you told him to stop. Instead of punishing him you said “please stop. I love you too much to argue with you.” I’ve always believed that it’s important to show students that you still support them even during times when you’re not happy with them and you always do this. Looking back on my history with teachers during elementary school, I recall them being so focused on getting students to obey that they forgot to be compassionate. It makes me wish that I had a teacher more like you that would allow me to feel more comfortable in the classroom. Your impact on your students is so profound that when you’re not there, students ask about you multiple times and the overall classroom environment changes. This experience at OEC not only encouraged me to minor in Educational Studies, but it also enhanced my desire to work with children and become a teacher. I hope that when I finally become certified to teach, I leave the same positive impact on my students as you do. With that being said, thank you for the experience and I will miss this classroom and all of the amazing songs we sang!
See you this Friday for my last day!
Dear Ms. D.,
The fall semester is coming to an end and I’m sad to let you know that tomorrow will be my last visit to OEC. Thank you for accommodating my presence every Friday morning, it’s been such an insightful and rewarding experience getting to know your students and being able to witness your teaching. I’m always in awe of the passion that shines through when you teach, your excitement regardless of however early in the morning it is. Sometimes when I’m in your classroom, I think back to the time when I was in third grade, occupying a tiny chair like the ones your students sit on, eating snacks and reading story books in my seat next to my peers. Then I think of how blessed your students are to have a teacher like you who cares so deeply about them — I wouldn’t be surprised if ten years down the road when they’re all emerging into young adulthood, they reflect back on the days they spent in your classroom as eight and nine-year-olds laughing, dancing, spelling, drawing, reading, and learning from you, and are grateful for those joyful memories. I’d also like to express my gratitude for Ms. F and her generous help. I wish a happy holiday to you, your family, your students and Ms. F, and I hope that the new year will bring you more peace and well-being.
Thank you again.
Dear Ms. F.,
First off, I want to thank you for allowing me into your classroom this semester! I had an amazing time learning from you and your incredible students. Seeing the interactions you made with each and every student in your class places as emphasis on making student connections in my future careers in education. Even in my short time there I could see how valuable the students found those one on one interactions. I was also incredibly inspired by the importance of group activities in your classroom. We talked a lot this semester about collaborative teaching and learning. OEC is doing a great job at providing students with the access and space to develop and learn from others around them. I was especially grateful when I got the chance to work with a small group of students from your class on an exit ticket. Seeing those students then take a test on similar material the following week and feels more confident in their learning was truly amazing. You may not have realized this but getting to work and learn from you and your class was the highlight of every week and pushed me to want to get more involved in the Philly public schools. Thank you again for your support and openness throughout the semester!
Roisin Duffy (she/her) ‘24
Dear Ms. D,
I am writing to let you know that tomorrow, Tuesday, December 7th, will be my last day in your classroom at OEC. I cannot express how much I have enjoyed spending time in your classroom with you and your students. It has been a wonderful experience that I will truly treasure for the rest of my life. I have loved getting to know you and the kids and will miss you all.
One part of my class’s partnership with OEC is providing a sort of reflection at the end of our time at the school, which I will provide in this email.
The first thing I think of when I reflect on this experience is how awesome of a third-grade teacher you are. Third grade was my favorite year in elementary school, and it was all because of my teacher. I will never forget how fun and caring she was, and I just know that your students will look back on their time in third grade the same way – with so many good memories.
In relation to my class, I was able to take a lot of the experiences I had in your classroom and apply them to what we were learning about, especially effective classroom management and motivation. One thing we discussed about effective classroom management is having “with-it-ness”, meaning always knowing what is happening and going on in your classroom, and I would definitely say you have this. Always knowing what is going on, without necessarily having to scan the classroom non-stop, has been proven to be really effective in both noticing and correcting issues, but also making students feel seen, and I cannot express enough how well you do this. We have also discussed motivation when it comes to motivating students to do work, be excited to learn, and practice good behavior and I see so many elements in your classroom that motivate your students. I especially love the compliment chart and the afro-mation station, as I see them providing the kids with incentive as well as positivity to reflect on. I know you don’t necessarily need the observations of a college student on your teaching, but I wanted to express how great of a teacher I think you are.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher, but as I got older and went through more school, I became discouraged from this goal. I had fewer good teachers, more bad experiences, and began to really dislike going to school starting in sixth grade. However, being in your classroom has reminded me of why I wanted to be a teacher, and has inspired me to look back into working in a school setting. As of right now, my goal is to become a therapist, specializing in children and families, but this experience has shown me the amazing work that teachers do to help kids every day, and I am now considering adding an education minor to my degree to hopefully explore this path a little more.
Your students are so lucky to have you as their teacher, and I am so thankful that you have allowed me into your classroom this fall.
I am truly sad that tomorrow will be my last day, but I can’t wait to come in one last time😊
Thank you so much,
Dear Ms. H.,
Given that tomorrow is my last day with you and your students, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for the amazing opportunity you have given me by being in your classroom. It was a pleasure getting to know you, as well as your incredible students. From the first day I arrived, I could immediately see how dedicated you were to the students and the material that you were teaching. Everyone in your class has made me feel so comfortable and confident. I am so grateful that you trusted Miss Caroline and me with so many classroom tasks, as it gave us so much hands-on experience in a variety of roles.
I also wanted to let you know how helpful it was to be in your classroom for the purposes of our course at Bryn Mawr. In our class, Caroline and I have been studying a variety of topics in the field of educational psychology, from learning differences to memory. Personally, I found so much valuable information in your classroom about the efficacy of specific psychological theories, especially those in the area of classroom management. It was amazing to see certain principles work so well in the classroom! For example, I was so impressed with the amount of agency that you give the students on a daily basis, as it is evident how empowering it is to them. Also, it was incredible to see that you have adopted a reward system based on mutual effort, as opposed to inter student competition. I also think that you keep math and science so engaging for them by using so many different mediums and strategies. It was incredible to be able to use your classroom as an example of effective classroom management for my papers and tests, as it was so apt.
Overall, this has been such a rewarding and engaging experience. While I have loved the class at Bryn Mawr, being able to work with students like yours has been such a joy. Going forward, I hope to take what I have learned from this class and use some of these strategies in my own classroom one day. Thank you again for all you do.
Wishing you all the best and a very happy holiday season,