UPenn-Milton Internship Program Launches
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 21st, 2012This year, Milton inaugurated an internship program with The University of Pennsylvania, bringing teaching fellows Kevin Moy and Matthew Cullen to campus.
The Penn Residency Master’s in Teaching program (PRMT) at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, a two-year commitment, sends fellows to six independent boarding schools in addition to Milton: Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Miss Porter’s, Northfield Mount Hermon, and St. Paul’s. The newly-created program aims to bring “highly talented, high potential teachers to school, [to provide] the right level of support and guidance, so [they] can blossom into the teachers they could be,” according to Mr. Ball.
A few years ago, a number of boarding school administrators wanted to develop more teaching fellow programs, with the intent to “provide a cohort for these teachers,” and “Penn was the [graduate school] that embraced the opportunity,” says Mr. Ball. As he explains, isolation and lack of experience are some of the many challenges facing new teachers, but by combining the “practical and theoretical,” the program allows the fellows to apply their knowledge in a supportive environment. Throughout the year, different schools will host three weekend sessions where the fellows will meet to share, workshop, and discuss their experiences.
In addition to a connection with the other fellows, interns in the program are paired with mentor teachers whose classes they observe. Similar to the teaching fellows’ week-long session of classes and workshops this summer, the mentors, including Ms. Lillis, Mr. Moy’s mentor, took part in a similar program in Philadelphia. Ms. Lillis explained how the session allowed mentors to meet and think about “what it means to mentor someone.” As the two year course progresses, the mentors will “integrate [a fellow] into a community without overloading [him],” and discover “what level of responsibility feels like a good fit,” according to Ms. Lillis. Not only are the fellows learning, but the mentors are too, for the system really “heightens your awareness of you are doing…[and you become] more thoughtful” Ms. Lillis explains.
Mr. Moy, a member of Milton’s class of 2005, is currently working in the science department. He attended Milton Academy for thirteen years, going on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College and Conservatory. He first heard of the program through Mr. Edgar and “felt it would be a great fit.” Mr. Moy appreciates that the program “emphasizes gaining practical educational experience,” especially considering the fact that he will be involved with dance concerts, jazz combos, and Norris House. Already in this first week, Ms. Lillis and Mr. Moy have created “authentic, organic teamwork.” Ms. Lillis cites a story from one of her classes, where Mr. Moy shared a YouTube video related to their lesson on octopuses.
Mr. Cullen, mentored by Ms. Baker, is working in the English department. Mr. Cullen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and English from Boston College. After interning at the St. Paul’s School’s Advanced Studies Program during the summer, Mr. Cullen realized how much he enjoyed the “triple threat lifestyle—teaching, coaching, and dorm-parenting.” When he heard of the PRMT program, he “realized that being able to teach and work towards a master’s degree through Penn at the same time was a groundbreaking and unmissable opportunity.” Mr. Cullen is involved with Wolcott House and the Outdoor Program.
Though fellows live off campus, the program still provides “an opportunity for a full range of Milton,” according to Mr. Ball. Mr. Cullen feels “this experience is a cornerstone and will, down the road, prepare me for almost any type of profession in the field of education.”
Being part of the PRMT program is beneficial to the fellows, mentors, and students. The program is, as Ms. Lillis states, “Miltonian in that it’s design it yourself…for Milton and the interns.” The students feel this connection too. As one student in Ms. Lillis’s “Science in the Modern Age” class says, “I really like having an intern in the class. It helps increase the student-teacher ratio and interactions. Especially since Mr. Moy came to Milton, it gives us another great resource, and just generally, someone relatable.”
Ultimately, a key benefit of having these fellows at Milton is their bridging of the gap between students and teachers; their presence allows us to see how our teachers progressed from students to educators and reminds us that we are all learning at Milton.
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