Education intern rises to the head of the class

February 02, 2018

Marisa Laudano reads a children's book to two elementary students at Fair Haven School

Master of Arts in Teaching alumna Marisa Laudano MAT ’17 began the 2016-17 school year ready to begin her final internship at Fair Haven School in New Haven. It would be her final opportunity to observe and contribute under supervision before beginning her own career.

However, just two weeks into the internship, Laudano’s role would change. A kindergarten teacher unexpectedly took a leave of absence, thrusting her into the position of long-term substitute.

When she stepped in to lead the classroom, the focus was the management system, including rules and routines and putting a curriculum in place. All of Laudano’s training and prior experiences immediately came to the forefront.

“The Quinnipiac MAT training enabled me to step into the breach,” said Laudano. “As a result, my students met or exceeded the benchmarks that were set for them in reading and mathematics.”

When the teacher’s leave turned into a retirement, Laudano was appointed as her full-time replacement, for which she credits the MAT program.

“Quinnipiac went above and beyond to make sure I was ready and prepared to take the job,” Laudano said.

Beyond strategies for teaching academic subjects, Laudano praises the MAT program for teaching essentials — including how to structure and manage a classroom, as well as how to create a welcoming and safe environment.

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“That’s something that I think is usually overlooked in many education programs,” she said.

Laudano also benefited greatly from the relationships she formed with her professors. She felt comfortable to approach them when she needed advice the most.

“Faculty members truly care about their students,” Laudano said. “They all make it a point to make themselves available, even after we graduate.”

As she entered the 2017-18 school year, Laudano used her previous experience to reflect upon how she could improve, and create the kind of classroom that benefits all students.

“My hope is that I can give children a safe space where they can be themselves and explore subject matter to open new doors,” she said.

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