Saint Anselm Student Teachers

Saint Benedict Academy is thankful for our support from Saint Anselm College. This fall, we were fortunate to welcome two student teachers – Brianna Dooley and Chloe Kealey – to our school to teach alongside Mrs. Connors in Kindergarten and Mrs. Freethey in Second Grade. Both of these future teachers wrote reflections on their time at Saint Benedict Academy in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ms. Brianna Dooley

To the faculty, students, and parents of Saint Benedict Academy,

At this time of Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you for receiving me with warm hearts and enlightening me on my path as an educator. The SBA faculty has welcomed me into their classrooms and I could not be more grateful. What I have learned so much from these fellow educators I will carry with me throughout my career. I feel so blessed to teach beside such brilliant minds.

I would also like to thank my students and their parents. I have been respected and supported throughout my entire teaching experience and it had meant so much. My students have been amazing to work with. I will be sad to be leaving the classroom in December, but I will be sure to visit my favorite 9 students.

Throughout my student teaching experience, Mrs. Connors has been supporting me. Watching her teach has taught me so much. Her lessons of creativity have inspired my creativity in lessons. The students love a change of pace.

The other day, I taught a lesson on Thanksgiving. The students had been learning about this, so it was a fun review. I did a puppet show of the first Thanksgiving. The students were so excited to see a puppet show. They answered questions the puppets asked such as, “What should we call our ship?” (“THE MAYFLOWER!”) Students were actively engaged in the lesson. Of course, the students wanted to create their own puppets after. So the students were transitioned to their desks to make a Pilgrim or Native American puppet. They were given various materials and encouraged to think creatively to use the materials to construct their puppets. The students had a blast making the puppets and rushed to the curtains to recreate the show using their new puppets and my Thanksgiving props.

I will surely miss moments like this and my SBA family, but for now I am thankful I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless,

Brianna Dooley

Ms. Chloe Kealey

As my student teaching experience comes to an end at Saint Benedict Academy, I find myself trying to find a way to describe the time to others. The one word that fully describes my feelings as I reflect on my experience and time spent in Sue Freethey’s second grade classroom is blessed.

I feel blessed because I have never been in a school quite like Saint Benedict Academy. The staff at the school is truly the most amazing group of people I have ever met. I have never been in a school setting where the staff are so close and are so willing to help each other with everything. Mr. McLaughlin has been helping me throughout my experience at Saint Benedict Academy. While working hard to improve the school, Mr. McLaughlin still made time to come observe me teaching and offer me advice on my teaching. I am very thankful for his help and all of the help of the staff.

I feel blessed to have been placed with Sue Freethey as my coordinating teacher. Sue is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met. Through these last few months, I have learned so much from watching Sue with the second graders. Some people are just naturals and meant to be teachers, and Sue is meant to be a teacher.

Right away I noticed a quality in Sue that I admire and strive to achieve as a teacher. Sue is tuned with each student’s needs. She knows how to bring in many different resources and activities to meet each learners individual needs. From the first week of school, Sue began trying to find out the interests of our students. It is so important to figure out the interests of your students so you can incorporate those things in your lessons to engage the students. Sue made me feel like we were a team. She told me she was learning from me just as much as I was learning from her. It is really a wonderful feeling when we realized how well we work together. Sue allowed me to bring new ideas into the classroom. She was so open to trying new things I was learning about in class.

Part of my student teaching experience was to plan two units. I planned a math unit and a social studies unit. For both units, I wanted to try new things and use many different types of teaching techniques, math games, and many different types of math manipulatives.

From the beginning of my math unit, I began incorporating a teaching technique we were learning in my college class. We learned how important it is to have classroom dialogue. Having an ongoing dialogue with the students throughout a lesson keeps them engaged. The main idea is to minimize the teacher in front of the class lecturing to the students. The students should be the ones doing the most talking during the lessons. The job of the teacher is to get the students engaged in the lesson and explaining their thoughts. The student’s loved when I told them that they were going to have the opportunity to “be the teacher” during parts of the lesson. Each student began to respond very well to this technique. The students are very comfortable during math and they all shoot their hands into the air when I ask who would like to explain the problem or offer their idea to the class.

Sue and I worked together throughout my whole unit to bring in both our ideas to meet the needs of each of our learners. We both do not think math time should just consist of the book, worksheets, and rote memorization. We have been working hard to bring in many additional resources to engage the students in the lesson and reinforce facts and concepts. It is a great feeling when the students start to say they have fun during math because we do so many different things every day. The most rewarding feeling is to see the students enjoying themselves during math time. I feel so thankful to have been able to be in a classroom where a teacher believes so strongly about getting her students excited about their learning.

Sue made it possible for me to grow significantly as a teacher. From the beginning, Sue showed me that she had complete trust in me as a teacher. In her classroom, I not only learned skills for teaching like planning and classroom management, but I also developed a confidence in my teaching. As a student teacher, the feeling of insecurity and being unsure about things is a very familiar feeling, but this feeling for me has completely disappeared. Sue is the main reason why I have become so secure in the classroom. I will never forget all I have learned from Sue Freethey. She has truly made this experience at Saint Benedict Academy unforgettable.

In the honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank everyone who has made me have this feeling of being blessed.

Thank you to every single one of my second graders who I will never be able to forget. My advisor keeps telling me what a special group of children they are and I cannot agree more. These second graders will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Thank you to all the parents at Saint Benedict Academy who made me feel so welcomed.

Thank you to the whole Saint Benedict Academy community for making these past few months at Saint Benedict Academy a time I will never forget.

The good news is that I will not be leaving completely! I am happy to announce I will be doing an internship once a week in the second grade and another day a week in the upper grades. I am excited to see what the next months at Saint Benedict Academy have in store for me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Chloe Kealey