Eye on ECCS: Introduction to Education

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NOTE: Occasionally throughout the school year, we will visit a school across Eastern Carver County Schools. Some weeks the plan may be to stop in multiple classrooms by grade, or by subject. Other weeks it may highlight a certain specialist group. The purpose is to give families and our community a glimpse into the every-day learning environment happening in our buildings. A chance to spotlight the incredible work our teachers and staff do on a daily basis for our students, and to showcase the incredible work our students produce as well. So, keep your Eye on ECCS!


Elizabeth Balmaceda Amenta knew she needed to make a phone call to her college admissions counselor after her third field experience in her Introduction to Education class during her final semester as a student at Chaska High School.

“I thought I’d come into the field experience and I would leave sticking with my decision of getting into secondary education. After my third week here, I was like, ‘I’m switching my major and declaring it for elementary education.’ I immediately talked with my admissions counselor (at the University of River Falls) and told her I wanted to change my decision,” Balmaceda Amenta said. 

“I’ve seen some stuff that made me want to change my mind. This class really pushed me out of my comfort zone. This class made me love working with kids this age,” she added.

Balmaceda Amenta is one of seven Chaska students taking Introduction to Education with Susan Busch. There are 11 students – a mix of seniors and juniors – in Melissa Martin’s class at Chanhassen High School.

Introduction to Education is described in the registration guide as “an overview of the education profession and the U.S. educational system, including historical development, social foundations, and educational institutions. Other topics include current theories, trends, and issues in education and the community, certification standards, roles and responsibilities of teachers, learners, and other school personnel.”

The class is taught through Normandale Community College in Bloomington, earning each student four college credits.

In addition to classroom work, every student must complete a 25-hour field experience in an area school. This is completed during class hours at a local elementary school. Transportation is provided for students.

Chaska students have been traveling to Jonathan Elementary this semester, while Chanhassen students have been at Bluff Creek and Chanhassen Elementary.

“I was changing my schedule and it was one of the electives, and when I heard I would be able to come to an elementary school and have an experience working with kids, I thought that would make for an interesting experience. It’s been a great time. I’ve also met so many kids in other classes,” Chanhassen senior Georgia Wolf said.


Lydia Edison has always been interested in becoming an elementary-age teacher. When her teacher, Mrs. Susan Busch, suggested she take the course and earn college credit, she was sold. Edison spent the semester with Jonathan Elementary counselor Stacy Busch.

“Each time I come here, it makes me even more excited to major in education in college. I love kids. They’re the best!” Edison said.

Chanhassen junior Katelyn Anfang has always enjoyed working with children, so she went into the experience with an open mind to teaching.

“I knew this would be a good way to see if being a teacher would be something I’d like. It’s been really fun so far,” Anfang said.

Others are more interested in different fields involving children but saw the class as a great experience and an extension of the Childhood Development class they took in the first semester.

“Right now I’m thinking of becoming a pediatric nurse. I’ve babysat for many years, and I work with kids at my dance studio, so I definitely want to do something with kids,” Chanhassen senior Kaelyn Wild said.

“I definitely am interested in doing something with children. Maybe pediatrics or something in the healthcare field,” Chanhassen junior Ellie Rollins said. “When I heard that I could do my work experience at Bluff Creek, where I went to school and where my sister is now, I was so excited.”


Balmaceda Amenta remembers how crucial those first few weeks she was in the Jonathan Elementary building in Jack Hurst’s fifth-grade class. She knew she had to make connections with students for them to take her seriously.

“By the third week I was starting to figure out all of their names and started to build relationships with them and work with them out in the hallway 1-on-1. You start to build connections with them at that time. It’s nice having those relationships so when I am walking around the classroom, I feel comfortable stopping and helping them with something, or telling them they need to get back on track or whatever,” she said.

“I’ve gotten to know them more and more, learn their names, and start to build relationships with all of them. You really learn what each student likes and dislikes,” Anfang, who has been in Jordan Kilber’s third-grade classroom at Chanhassen Elementary, said.

For Wolf, she sees the impact teachers have on students and she tries to be that person when she’s at Bluff Creek in the first-grade cluster with teacher Kendra Buteyn.

“Being able to make a difference in kids’ lives is amazing. Today a couple of kids came up and gave me a hug, and I’m only here one day a week and they remember me. It’s a great feeling. Once you start making those connections, you really can make a difference. That’s what teachers are doing all school year with these kids,” Wolf said.


Wild was paired with Virginia Jackson’s fifth-grade class at Chanhassen Elementary. Part of the field experience is learning from the classroom teacher.

“She’s taught me to be alright with everything. Not every day is the same, and there are going to be new challenges and you just have to understand that comes with working in this job,” Wild said. “I’ve learned how you have to be aware of everything going on in the classroom. Even when you’re working with one or two students, you have to keep one eye on what else is going on.”

“I’ve worked with the classroom as a whole, giving out spelling tests, and I’ve read out loud to them. I’ve worked with them in small groups, and had check-ins with them to see how they’re doing during their work time,” said Rollins, who is paired with Molly Aker at Bluff Creek.

“I’ve learned how to build stronger relationships with students, and what it's like to be a teacher. The kind of activities you can do to keep the students engaged. Things you can do to create a positive classroom environment,” Anfang said.

“I’m here only two hours every week, and I see how much time and effort it takes in that small period of time. I can’t imagine what it takes for a full day, a full week, all school year. It really takes a village. The way Ms. Buteyn comes in each day, is prepared, is always doing new things with the students, is so comfortable in her job, it’s very inspiring,” Wolf said.


Rollins is part of a club at Chanhassen High School called “Letters of Love.” When she and fellow club members got together with all of the fifth-grade students at Bluff Creek for a project, that was her “favorite day ever.”

“We all made cards for a Bluff Creek student who is in the hospital struggling with cancer. I got to bring in some of my friends and they were able to meet the kids I work with, and we were able to make cards for him. It was a great day,” Rollins said.

Balmaceda Amenta is excited to begin her journey as an elementary educator next fall when she steps on the campus at the University of River Falls. Her experience this spring is something she is glad she had.

“I had a teacher who really inspired me to be a teacher, so when I heard about this class through my AVID teacher, Ms. (Kelly) Dreier, I thought it would be a great experience. I love coming over to Jonathan each week and working in the school. I’m excited for the future,” she said.

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