Onwaniqua Heard ’15 is going to find herself back in the classroom more quickly than most recent graduates: this time, however, she’ll be the teacher, not the student. Heard will be entering the Greenwich Country Day School’s Co-Teacher Program this fall, a program that “gives co-teachers a chance to work with children of different ages and to broaden their professional experience.”
Greenwich Country Day School is an independent, co-educational day school located in central Greenwich, Connecticut, and enrolls students from the nursery to the 9th grade levels. The program accepts only 27 recent college graduates per round, and includes “housing, an annual stipend, generous medical and dental benefits, and tuition assistance for graduate school.”
Heard, a biology major, says the program is a good fit for her, citing her passion for the field of childhood education. “I love (the idea of) changing lives by starting from the earliest stages such as childhood. Working with children and participating in the positive educational experiences of the children will allow them to see education as a way to gain a meaningful connection to others who care about their success.” The experience offers a good connection to Heard’s professional ambitions as well, she explains, saying “I hope to learn how to effectively work with children and their parents since I hope to become a public interest attorney.”
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
High School: Fairport High School
Learning to work effectively with children certainly seems to be the primary goal of the program, in which participants will “explore all aspects of an elementary classroom,” and “ Creative teaching is encouraged and used to motivate young students and foster a love of learning.” The program also includes the opportunity for co-teachers to participate in the coaching of athletic teams for students in grades six through nine, as well as work in after school activities for first through third graders. The classroom experience is supplemented by bi-monthly one hour seminars focused on effective teaching methods.
Heard both discovered and applied for the co-teacher program through the Hamilton College jobs database, HamNET, an online arm of the Hamilton College Career and Life Outcomes Center. Heard stressed the value of HamNET and the Career Center, based on her personal experience with the process of finding a program after graduation, to current undergraduates as well. She urges students to “use HamNET and the individuals at the career center as a resource. Hamnet is easy to navigate and the professionals at the career center are willing to lend a helping hand and be a support system to help Hamilton students succeed.”
Heard is a native of Rochester, N.Y., and a graduate of Fairport High School.