Education Without Boundaries
Ruhama Yared '13 has dreamed her whole life of being an educator. "I've always wanted to teach; I've always loved kids," she said. So, as a first-year education student at Goucher, she was eager to get into area elementary school classrooms to begin completing fieldwork she knew would get her closer to her goal.
"It's hands-on training they do to prepare you," much like completing an internship for a business or communications major, Yared explained. "It's not like you just take classes and then you graduate ... . You've actually done the work that you will do when you graduate."
While many other colleges wait until the junior year to introduce fieldwork, Goucher has a proactive curriculum that immerses students as soon as possible, which Yared says she appreciates. Goucher actually has been at the vanguard with its implementation of early fieldwork, although the national trend is now starting to lean toward promoting it.
The early fieldwork not only prepares students, it also helps them evaluate if education is really the field they want to pursue, according to Ann Marie Longo, associate professor of education and Yared's educational adviser. "It makes sense to get them out there," Longo said. The experience can also help students hone their interests, such as toward a specialization like special education or a certain age group.
Yared said she's passionate about working with elementary students and has been so enamored with the fieldwork that she's been she has continued with it ever since that first semester. She missed just one semester while she was studying abroad in Barbados at the University of the West Indies.
Yared's interaction with kids doesn't stop with her designated classroom work. She also is working with elementary-age students through a community-service partnership with Goucher has with the Hampden Family Center in Baltimore. There, Yared and other Goucher students provide the children with homework help and enrichment activities, as well as some adult education programming. Yard said working every day with 6- to12-year-olds is different and challenging, but it offers her a chance to be creative and make a difference. "It's my favorite thing at Goucher," she said.
Though an education major and a math minor, Yared also really enjoys writing. She decided to take a close look at Gocuher after her mentor mentioned it might be a good place to go as a writer "This is a small school, and I can get a one-on-one feel with published authors," she said.
One of the most satisfying things about Goucher for Yared has been finding a direct correlation between working hard and getting what she wants. When her first choice for study abroad, India, didn't have appropriate classes for what she needed in an international studies program, she identified a different program in Barbados and pursued it. "I made it happen even though it was a non-Goucher program," she said. "I had to work hard for what I learned, and when I worked hard, I got it."