By Steve Fuller
Most college students wouldn”t spend their free time with over 40 12-year-old children. But some BYU students do it every day.
Brent Wells, 24, a senior from Fountain Valley, California, majoring in music education, taught a class of seventh graders at American Fork Junior High School last Winter Semester.
Student teaching and internships are a big part of a college education for many BYU students.
Wells said his experience has been interesting.
“While I enjoy interacting with and teaching the kids, I want to teach at a higher level of learning than what they are prepared to handle. I always pictured myself teaching in a High School setting rather than a Junior High setting,” he said.
Next fall, Wells will have that chance. He will start teaching at Orem High School.
In addition to teaching music classes he will also conduct school choirs.
Wells will graduate from BYU in December and then pursue a master”s degree and doctorate in choral conducting.
Students in the music education program take classes while having the teaching experience.
“My classes prepared me very well for my teaching experience. All of the upper-level classes that deal with music education have been very helpful,” Wells said.
Among other things, Wells” classes prepared him for discipline. He said he learned many different ways to discipline students.
Wells said it is important to not punish a student in front of the class.
“I”m a pretty strong presence in the room – discipline hasn”t been much of a problem,” Wells said.
As much as he enjoys teaching, Wells admits he has felt a tinge of frustration at times. His ultimate goal is to conduct a choir at a university.
Wells said this experience has taught him that teaching in the public schools has a lot more to do with who you are and your ability to manage than your knowledge of the subject matter.
It is clear that Wells is excited and optimistic about his future in teaching music, and his internship has given him some much-needed experience.
“It”s not so much making music, rather the growth of the individual that excites me and propels me forward in an exciting career in education,” he said.
Chris Thomas from Troy, Mich., graduated from BYU with a master”s in business administration in April 1999.
He interned at Price Waterhouse Coopers in the Detroit area.
Thomas was pleased with his internship opportunity.
“I gained valuable work experience at Price Waterhouse Cooper, and they gave me a good offer to stay there,” he said.
He has worked at Price Waterhouse Coopers for two years since completing his internship.
Steven Curtis graduated from BYU in April of this year with a degree in chemical engineering.
He did not have the internship experience, and found it difficult to get a job upon graduation.
Curtis said he applied to many different companies, and got only one job offer.
Marissa Adsero, 22, a recent BYU graduate, found that knowing people in the right places can be helpful.
Adsero said her teachers and classmates played a major role in landing the job she wanted.
Three months after graduating from BYU in August 2000 with a bachelor”s degree in social work, Adsero found her current job.
She works for the Division of Services for People with Disabilities with the State of Utah.
Adsero”s responsibilities include finding services for people who are mentally retarded.
She is satisfied with her BYU experience.
“My degree at BYU prepared me adequately for my job,” Adsero said.
However, Adsero said she would have done some things differently.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken different electives geared more toward my major,” Adsero said.
Like many students, she plans on returning to school someday to earn a Master”s degree.
Adsero said earning a master”s degree would give her more power and a bigger paycheck.
Adsero said she feels that her internship was a major factor in finding the job that was right for her.
“My internship was a key part of my education,” Adsero said.
Her internship gave her the experience she needed, and helped her determine what kind of job she wanted.
Like Wells, Adsero also took a class during the internship to help students.
This class also helped connect students with possible job opportunities throughout the country.
Adsero said about half of the students she graduated with have found the kinds of jobs they were looking for, and most often those jobs came as a result of the internship class.
“I am very grateful for my internship. It helped me find my current job, and helped me to know exactly what I want in my career,” she said.