Lydia Gilbert shares her historical experience.
Montclair High School senior Lydia Gilbert spent her senior option working at Glenfield Middle School with Mr. McCarthy. He is a history elective teacher. Gilbert helped, observed and participated in McCarthy’s History of Rock and Roll Music course.
“I really like Mr. McCarthy so I contacted him very early on in the senior option process to make sure the internship was secured,” explained Gilbert.
Lydia Gilbert was at Glenfield four days a week for most of the school day, because McCarthy taught at least six different History of Rock and Roll Music classes.
“It was nice because the students were from all different grades, so there was a real variety throughout the week,” said Gilbert.
While working for McCarthy, Gilbert did a few things.
“I helped Mr. McCarthy in the classroom by doing tasks like running his projector while he lectured and also I had to find media that would bring the material alive for the students,” explained Gilbert. “However, my main project during the internship was to create a Jeopardy-style trivia game to play with the students as an evaluative tool during my final week.”
Lydia Gilbert worked tirelessly on the game.
“I wrote most of the questions and facilitated the activity, which tested how much the students had learned throughout the semester,” said Gilbert. “The categories ranged from ‘1950’s Rock and Roll’ to ‘Justin Bieber trivia.’ It was a ton of fun; the students got really competitive and excited. It was clear that they learned a lot, not just about a genre of music, but about a significant part of popular culture history.”
Working tirelessly on a trivia game while helping McCarthy in his classroom didn’t dampen the internship at all. Lydia Gilbert loved the work and loved the internship even more.
“I’ve spent 13 years in the Montclair school system, so it’s eye-opening to end my experience as a student from the complete opposite perspective,” shared Gilbert. “Seeing Glenfield from a teacher’s point of view has made a huge impact on how I view Montclair schools, especially because of all of the upheaval and reform going on. I view it so differently and it makes me appreciate and admire all the teachers I’ve had.”
Lydia Gilbert believes her favorite part of the whole experience was seeing how Glenfield worked from the inside.
“As students, we often sit in class and listen to lectures or participate in activities without realizing how much work went into each one,” explained Gilbert.
“For example, the trivia game I created had over ninety questions that each required careful research and revision,” continued Gilbert. “As a student, I never would have appreciated how much effort that took, but as soon as I was a ‘teacher,’ it was a big deal to me.”
While Lydia Gilbert thoroughly enjoyed her senior option, she doesn’t see herself as becoming a teacher.
“I don’t want to pursue a career in teaching simply because I don’t think I have the endurance and energy for it,” she said. “Regardless, this experience has been a great one because it really altered my views on the education system.”
“If it was possible, I think every student should experience being a teacher for a week or two. With all the time we spend grade-grubbing and complaining about teachers, we ignore the fact that every teacher puts so much time into making seamless, cohesive, comprehensive, and effective lessons,” added Gilbert.
Come fall Lydia Gilbert will be attending University of California, Berkley in Berkley, Calif. She’s extremely excited to attend and plans on majoring in Economics.