Meet my ACES Mentee!

This year I have the privilege of working with an Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars freshmen on their transition to Ohio State. I was paired with psychology major, Payton Harvey. She and I share a love of plants, hiking, music, and art. We’re both interested in working with children. Payton and I sat down to get to know each other a little better and how I can best support her in her first year. I was happy to find that she is loving Ohio State so far!

Payton is from a small town in Ohio, Leesburg. She has adjusted well to city life in Cbus. As her older sister, a current OSU junior, has been attending the university for almost 3 years Payton spent a lot of time in Columbus before moving into the dorms this year. Her family also spent time in the city for fun when she was growing up. Although she hasn’t ad much of a chance to explore the city between classes and COVID restrictions she has been enjoying getting to know campus. She remarked that campus doesn’t feel very big at all after being here for a few weeks. In fact, she was really surprised at just how small it is. She often runs into friends and classmates when out and about. (What has surprised you about Ohio State since arriving on campus?)

Payton is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and considering a minor in Art. She hopes to become an art therapist because she is a fan of all types of art, especially painting. (What is your dream job and why?) She is interested in internships and gaining hands on experience in the field. I mentioned an art therapist that I had worked with at a previous job and the annual student internships at the Wexner Center for the Arts that may be of interest to her. Payton plans to attend graduate school for art therapy after completing her bachelors as it is essentially a requirement to practice in the field of art therapy. (What do you plan to do with your major after graduation?)

Payton is currently balancing a heavy 17 credit hour course load this semester. She has one in person class, Spanish, which is her favorite. The class that is giving her the most trouble is Calculus. (What has been your most challenging class so far and why?) Already a challenging course, the format has been changed this semester due to the distance learning format. I shared with her that this is a common experience this semester.

Payton is enjoying ACES so far. She chose the scholars program because of the community and her interest in service. (Why did you choose ACES?) She lives in the “connector” of Smith-Steeb and is very close with her fellow scholars in that hallway. She actually lives in the room next to mine last year. It is nice to see that so much laughter and joy is in that space again. She is very close with her roommate and they get along well. This is a relief as she went random. I shared with her that I had the same experience. Payton enjoyed volunteering in high school and looks forward to volunteering this semester and in the future through the program. She knows that that looks very different though due to COVID. I told her that we were working on planning more in person outdoor service events. Hopefully we will be able to volunteer together soon.

Looking to the future, Payton and I are going to explore her interests in the city. Her sister has spent a lot of time thrifting in town over the years. Payton hasn’t had the chance to visit any shops. We discussed spending an afternoon visiting the secondhand shops that can be reached by COTA. We’re looking forward to a year of learning together!

Payton and I with Brutus in the Ohio Union

Substitute Teaching at St. Joseph Montessori School

For the past year I have worked as an “on call” substitute teacher at St. Joseph Montessori School (SJMS). SJMS is a private Catholic school that serves children in preschool through 8th grade using the approach to education that was developed by the Italian physician, Maria Montessori. As a substitute, I accept teaching assignments across all subject areas, working with children of varied academic/age levels and diverse cultural backgrounds.

Working at SJMS has allowed me to learn from veteran teachers. They use a co-teaching model, so other than specials, when I am working I am with another permanent teacher. Under their guidance, I have enhanced my classroom management skills and built my confidence in leading a classroom.

Gaining an understanding of the Montessori philosophy has challenged my ideas of how I view myself as an instructor. It has taught me to value the child’s natural capabilities as a learner and to look inward when trying to improve my teaching practice. My experience here has motivated me to pursue training and employment outside of the traditional American educational approach. 

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