Leading the Way for Tomorrow's Educators
Want to be an educator? Ask Dr. Pamela Aerni about the Partnership program in Longwood University's teacher preparation program.
Aerni, an assistant professor in Longwood's College of Education and Human Services, teaches in the Partnership program where students are provided with an opportunity to observe and teach in elementary schools located nearby the university.
"When students complete this experience, they are well prepared for their clinical field experience prior to entering the profession. Our alumni share that these two experiences give them an edge in their first teaching position," says Aerni. In addition to facilitating student learning during the Partnership program, Aerni teaches students how to plan, design and construct assessments to use in their classrooms when they become educators.
For Aerni, the best part of being an educator is watching students make connections to their learning. "You can see the moment it happens. It is like turning on a light switch," she says.
In addition to supporting pre-service teachers in Longwood's teacher preparation program, Aerni also works with practicing teachers in middle and elementary schools across Virginia to help enhance and improve mathematics and science instruction. She helps these teachers discover their unique talents and abilities to teach, and helps them overcome obstacles they are facing in the classroom. "Working with practicing teachers allows me to bring a real-world context to my instruction of students in the teacher preparation program," explains Aerni.
Aerni loves the "feeling of family" at Longwood, as well as the ability to connect with her students inside and outside the classroom. "Texting for me has become an extension of office hours," says Aerni. "Students can contact me whenever they need support. It is important to me that they have what they need to be successful in their studies and work at Longwood."