Class of 2022 member Jamie Specca is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education at Delaware Valley University. She’s a member of the Floral Society, the previous RA for the third floor of Ulman Hall, and New Jersey state FFA (Future Farmers of America) president. Not only does she juggle a ton of extracurricular activities, but Jamie is also a star student with an impressive list of Experience360 program activities and great advice for incoming students or fellow Aggies that haven’t met their E360 requirements yet.
E360 requirements are generally the same for every major: a certain number of hours working in an internship or a career exploration opportunity will grant you the equivalence in eligible credits. If you’re unsure about the E360 requirements for your major, check out this page! Unlike the majority of other majors, education majors are required to complete a set number of hours of student teaching and field experience, so their requirements are a bit different. According to Jamie, the requirements for education majors include 20 hours of field experience for each semester that students are in education courses. Any situation in which a student gives a lesson or observes someone who is teaching counts as field experience. During their final semester at DelVal, education majors get to begin student teaching. These students get the awesome opportunity to be set up with a teacher in a local school for the entire semester. They have sat in on and observed many classroom settings at this point, so student teaching gives them a chance to put everything they have learned into practice and gain real teaching experience.
“For student teaching, you work with your co-op teacher to write lesson plans and deliver the lessons – you are basically the teacher for a semester with the guidance of someone who has been doing it for quite a few years,” Jamie explained.
The other major difference between education majors and other majors is that the field experience and student teaching that education majors participate in meets their Experience360 program participation. For Secondary Education majors, these requirements for Pennsylvania teaching certification serve as the alternative to the reflective internship and career exploration coursework required of other majors.
For her E360 experience, Jamie worked as an assistant teacher at a local pre-school. RA’s have a few restrictions when it comes to working off-campus jobs during the week in order to make sure they are able to fully support their designated floors as much as possible. They are not permitted to work more than 10 hours per week off-campus and she had to manage her schoolwork on top of being an RA and an employee, so Jamie worked a few hours in the afternoons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as Fridays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she worked in the afternoon after her classes – helping the pre-school teachers set up the classroom for later in the afternoon when the children wake up from their nap time. This included things like getting snacks ready and playing with the children when they go outside if it’s nice out. On Friday,s she worked mornings and had the opportunity to see more of the education side of the pre-school. She read the days of the week with the children, they learned the months of the year, did crafts, sign language, as well many other things.
Sometimes keeping up with so many extracurricular activities can be difficult. Jamie mentioned that she scheduled everything around her classes so there weren’t any conflicts with work and school. One helpful thing that came out of the recent pandemic is the ability for students to take more online classes as opposed to only in-person instruction. Though online classes may not be helpful for everyone, they can be when you’re pursuing an internship or career exploration.
“With classes being online, I have a lot of work I can get done on my own time rather than having to attend physical classes. It’s a lot easier,” Jamie stated last semester, when classes were still hybrid due to COVID-19.
In many cases, professors and other faculty members will help students find their internships, but since she wasn’t required to partake in any, Jamie took it upon herself to seek them out on her own. Jamie mentioned that she used the CSPD (Center for Student Professional Development) website to find all of her internships. The CSPD is an incredible tool for DelVal students when it comes to working on reaching their career goals. You can find out more about the CSPD and how they can assist you in finding jobs post-graduation and check out E360 requirements here.
Students may have a difficult time finding internships that best suit them. It can be an intimidating process but rest assured knowing DelVal has all of the tools you could ever need to get where you would like to be in your career. Some students who have completed E360 requirements may advise you to choose an internship or career exploration that you will genuinely enjoy. But you should not be afraid to take a position in an area you’re not sure about, since it can help close skill gaps and show you opportunities that you may not have otherwise considered.
Jamie’s future career goals are to become an agriculture teacher – specifically, to teach plant science or floral design. Jamie is incredibly passionate about teaching others about where their food and products they use on a daily basis come from. She will begin student teaching high school students in the Spring semester and she’s extremely excited to start. Jamie’s goal is to share her passion with others and inspire them to want to learn more about agriculture and the industry. She mentioned that DelVal did a great job preparing her for this by allowing her to be in a wide variety of not only education but also agriculture courses. Jamie has already inspired so many people (including me!) with her kindness and unending knowledge about the things she loves. Because of this and the experience she has gained through E360, she has all the necessary tools to become an amazing teacher someday.
By: Brynn Miller