This summer I participated in an externship at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, New York. I was placed in Ms. Polos’ sixth grade Humanities and Language Arts class of fifteen students. My personal goal of the externship was to have a different educational experience and to learn something new about the different paths I could take after graduating Gettysburg College. This specific class was unique to my education experience as I had never taken or observed a Humanities class before, just a traditional English class. In the short week I was at Rippowam Cisqua, Ms. Polos had graded the students’ research papers on Ancient Rome and returned them for revision, given them a map test on Ancient Rome, started a packet on adverbs, and started—and finished—the play, Twelve Angry Men. I was very interested in this class because it covered many different topics across disciplines; the students were learning and writing about Ancient Rome, while reading and discussing literature. They were also enthusiastic about what they were learning, which is always refreshing to see. I was glad that I was placed in a sixth grade classroom because I never thought I wanted to teach middle school, only high school; however, after sitting in on many lessons in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, I feel that I may want to explore these grade levels and private school more. This externship opened my eyes to teaching possibilities that I had not even begun to think about.
Ms. Polos was an extraordinary host. Not only was she a role model for the students, but she was also a great mentor to have as a future teacher. Ms. Polos was constantly making sure that I had something to do and somewhere to be. During the periods where her students were in other classes, she would arrange for me to visit other grade levels and sit in on those classes as well. Over my four days at Rippowam Cisqua, I was also able to observe seventh and eighth grade English and History classes in addition to my sixth grade classes. I feel that through these experiences I have learned much about myself as a future teacher—what grade levels I am interested in teaching, how I want to manage my classroom, what type of school I want to be in—as well as private school in general. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and want to thank Ms. Polos and the students of 6PO and Rippowam Cisqua!