December 14, 2016
Hands-on learning experiences have helped cement McKenzie Sweet's passion for education.
The early childhood education major already had experience working as an assistant teacher at a daycare near her hometown of Knoxville, Pa.
Then, as part of a required externship at Susquehanna, Sweet observed and assisted a third grade classroom at Selinsgrove Intermediate School, a short walk from campus.
She focused on helping students who were struggling with certain subjects, administered spelling tests, conducted group reading and corrected homework.
While she gained technical skills vital to succeed as a classroom teacher, she found the non-academic elements to be most valuable.
"I learned how important it is to praise students' efforts, regardless of the score they receive on a test," she said.
Sweet also came to realize how important it is to be involved in after-school activities.
"I had the opportunity to watch the third graders' annual Christmas concert. To the students, my watching their concert communicated that I cared about them as unique individuals," she said.