Top 5 Community Service Options for Teacher Candidates

In my last post, I talked about the requirements regarding admittance into Nyack’s School of Education. This week I would like to expound upon that a little more and give you some ideas regarding your community service hours.

Each teacher candidate must complete at least 30 hours of community service with the given age group for their specific certification. I, for instance, am an Adolescence Education major, so I will be spending my time with 7th-12th graders. I know that I specifically wish to teach middle school, but I do not have to stick with middle schoolers for my community service. In fact, the group that I’m serving doesn’t have to be comprised of only those within my certification age group; there can be some elementary schoolers and other ages in the mix as well. There real focus is on spending time with my certification group.

If you aren’t sure what ages/grades your certification covers, check out my last post.

After speaking with the Dean of Education, Dr. Looney, I comprised a list of some common community service activities that Nyack’s education students have done, as well as adding a few suggestions of my own.

1. Go to Church!
As a Nyack student and child of God, I’m hoping that you are an active member in a church. Serving in the body is one of the most common ways that Nyack students serve their community. Depending on your major, serving in the nursery or Sunday school can be an amazing way to complete your 30 hours. Some opportunities within the church include:
-Sunday school teacher
-Youth group helper
-Kids ministry volunteer

2. Help with VBS
Many churches have Vacation Bible School (VBS), and this would be an excellent opportunity to gain experience. If you are not yet comfortable enough to be responsible for a group of small humans, this might be your best bet. Since this environment is filled with men and women who are experienced children’s ministers, you can look after and teach children while being looked after and taught yourself.

3. Become a Camp Counselor
There is undoubtedly a camp near you that is in need of counselors this summer. Bonus: You get to be filled with nostalgia and relive those amazing summer camp days while helping kids create their own! (I didn’t really go to camp, but I’ve heard stories about the amazing memories and nostalgia thing).

4. Become a Coach
I have been volunteering with Ambassadors Football for several years now. They are an international soccer organization that uses soccer to share the Gospel. I have joined them both as a summer camp coach and an intern, and I recommend the experience to all of my fellow footballers. They are still taking applications for summer soccer coaches. The kids range from age 6-16, so it’s the perfect fit for nearly every major. For more information, check out their website.

5. Become a Tutor
There are students everywhere in need of help, and you are the perfect person for the job. After all, that is going to be your future job. You can find a tutoring center near you this summer, or you can be a tutor at the Nyack Center, a community center with an after-school program for local students.

Whatever experience you choose, go into it with an open mind. Throughout my years as a coach, VBS teacher, miscellaneous volunteer, etc., I have found that I learn as much from my students as they learn from me.

Why I Chose Teaching as a Profession

People have been asking me what I want to do with my life since I came out of the womb, and even more frequently since I graduated high school. I’m sure that you know how that goes.

I knew what I wanted to do, at least in part, since I was a small child, and that passion hasn’t changed. I have always wanted to become a teacher, and I cannot imagine doing anything else, nor do I think that anything else would bring me as much joy as the classroom does.

Even though I knew teaching to be my calling, I had tried to convince myself otherwise, convince myself to pursue another career path, but it was to no avail. When I was in elementary school, I tried to convince myself that I wanted to be a chef. I would get to be around food all day, and that seemed amazing! I even went to a cooking school that summer. (I now make an amazing cavatelli and Bolognese from scratch, in case you were wondering.) I learned from an amazing woman, and I will never forget her. The reason I will never forget her is for her teaching, for her passion and ability to teach that to others. My desire to become a teacher was reaffirmed with her.

Years passed before I had truly given extensive thought to my career path again. Sitting in Mrs. Durieux’s 9th grade English class, I was assigned to choose the top three careers that I would be interested in pursuing. Naturally, my first choice was teaching. Second was Cytotechnology, something in the medical field to appease my mother. The third was pediatrics, which I didn’t even remember I chose until I looked up the paper right now. (Are you amazed that I can still find the file? Because I certainly am.)

I chose the other two careers to appease others and their hopes for me, not because they were things I truly wanted. Sure, I love the science that was required for the other careers, but that love in no way compares to my love of the classroom and students.

I’m not going into education to make the kind of money a doctor does. (But if anyone knows how to make that kind of salary happen, feel free to contact me.) I’m going into education for my future students, to shape and guide them the way my teachers have shaped and guided me. I can say without a doubt that I would not be the woman I am today without my educators, those who taught me not only about their subject matter, but about life and what it means to be a decent human being.

I chose teaching primarily because I believe it to be the calling that God has placed on my life, but also because of how highly I esteem it. Furthermore, few things bring me more joy than watching the light go on in a student’s head when they finally grasp a concept- not even my first cup of coffee in the morning. Although perhaps an even better feeling would be when a student doesn’t look at your classroom like it’s a prison, but like it’s a home. And that is my main aim as a future educator.

Meet Dr. Nichols

Hello Everyone,01066

I’d like you to meet someone who has been a big part of my life at Nyack. Meet Dr. Nichols. He’s the Chair of the Adolescent Education Department at Nyack College, and if you’re an Adolescent Education Major, chances are you’ll find yourself in some of his classes, wind-up in his office for advisement, and you’ll also get to hear some interesting stories from his years of experience in our field. Meet Dr. Nichols:

  1. How Did You Come to Work at Nyack College?

I had just retired from working for thirty years in the public school system, and decided that I really wanted to try working in a Christian college environment. Fun fact, my first day of teaching at the college was at the Manhattan Campus. I’ll never forget that day, because I had been stung by a yellow jacket (I’m allergic), and I had to teach my first class on crutches. That was quite a day.


  1. What is Your Favorite Part about Teaching at Nyack?

That’s easy. It’s the students. I love working with the Christian college students here, and am constantly amazed at the Christian values of our teacher candidates.


  1. What’s Something Interesting/Random that Students Might Not Know about You?

In eighth grade I was the spelling bee champion at school.


  1. If You Could Design and Teach any Course What Would it Be and Why?

I would love to teach a course on practical writing. It would be a College Writing course designed specifically for future educators, and would focus on the kinds of writing so prevalent in the world of education. We would focus on things like lesson plans and the like. It would be all about real life writing.


  1. What One Piece of Advice You’d Like to Give Students?

I have two pieces of advice, really. My first piece of advice is to work smarter not harder. My second piece of advice would be specifically for Education Majors. Always realize that schools are for learning, not teaching. You have to figure out as a teacher how to create the best environment for learning.


  1. What’s Your Favorite Quote?

(He started singing this one). That would be Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


Thanks for listening, everyone.

Now you have officially met Dr. Nichols. Welcome to the Adolescent Education Department at Nyack College.

Top Teaching Program Nyack Education

Keeping Friends and Schoolwork in Balance

I’m smiling a little as I write, because this is a topic I’ve had to learn through tested disaster. It’s something I began to figure out as I started to grasp what my priorities were in college. The reason I’m in college is to study, to gather an education that not only gives me information, but also transforms and challenges my personal thoughts. The two departments that have become my life here at Nyack College, the Education and English Departments, have a real understanding of how to teach students in a personally challenging way.

Through all of this, it is my prayer that we may serve Christ through our academics, as we holistically serve Christ in and out of church buildings and worships services. I came to college with this belief, but I also came to college wanting to make friends. This became a conflict. My first semester I struggled between spending the majority of my time in the library and trying to hang out with friends. I want to share a couple things I learned about balancing the two: 

  1. You’re a Student First, Social Butterfly Second: I am so glad you have friends, but if your grades begin to slip because time with friends is cutting into study time, then reflect on your priorities. Your decisions in this area can decide issues about scholarships, whether or not you will be allowed to remain in your major, or even if you will be able to stay at school. Think about it.                                                                                            
  2. Relationships are Important: Alas, I must admit that I am an introvert. Some people are surprised at this, but it’s true. I can spend an entire day by myself and be content, but college has taught me the value of relationships. Find friends. Find a few good ones who don’t drag you down. Find friends who think being a student is important too. People tend to rub off on each other.                                                                                     
  3. Figure Out Who You Can Study With: I made mistakes with this my first semester. People would be like, “yo, you wanna study with us tonight?”, and I would beam and say “yes”. We would usually end up watching more Youtube videos on cats than doing homework. As my major began to require more work, I realized this wouldn’t work. I really enjoyed these people, but studying with them became unrealistic. Hanging out with them was fine, but it was better to leave the textbooks in my room when they asked me to study.               
  4. Headphones and Soundtracks: I discovered that putting in your headphones and listening to movie soundtracks, was an excellent way to be able to study in groups and still be productive. Three-fourth’s of my college homework has probably been to “Concerning Hobbits” on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Embarrassing Truth.                                                                                                                                                               
  5. Separate Study and Hangout Times: There are times when you need to focus and study. No talking. However, there are also times when you need to hangout with people, fully look them in the face, and have an undistracted conversation. Homework can distract from this. This is why I decided to never (almost never) bring homework into the cafeteria. I wanted time to focus on people, not textbooks.

Friends are one of the best parts about college, and your experiences with them are what you’ll remember after graduation. My advice is to keep your friends and your schoolwork in balance. If one area of your life is negatively affecting the other area, than have an honest time of reflection with yourself. Make changes. I messed up a lot in this area my first couple semesters, but eventually I began to get it. Balance having fun in college and studying can be difficult, but completely and totally worth it.

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