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Student Teachers Making A Difference During Pandemic

Mississippi College senior Will Nabholz of Clinton
Mississippi College senior Will Nabholz of Clinton

Will Nabholz never envisioned his student teaching duties would require a major makeover due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Mississippi College senior, Nabholz learned to adapt as he teaches Advancement Placement biology classes online at Madison Central High.

Will seeks to get his students ready to take an AP exam scheduled May 11.

“The (AP) tests will be online, but the questions will be short answer, which adds a large layer of difficulty for the students studying for this test,” the Clinton resident says. “To alleviate this, most of my assignments contain short answer questions, so they can prove they understand what I’m asking for.”

Nabholz, 22, thanks Madison Central educators for making his job easier and ensuring that challenges of online students are addressed.

“Madison Central is doing a great job in meeting a variety of needs, even for those that don’t have WiFi,” he said. “They’re able to pick up physical packets of the content that is formatted by the teachers and work on it at home.”

A biology education major, Will is keeping up with his own online studies at Mississippi College. The Mississippian is also a talented guitarist with a passion for singing hymn tunes celebrating God’s love as Easter nears. A Clinton High graduate, Will is on track to receive his MC diploma in another month.

The May 8 commencement ceremony on the Clinton campus will be postponed until the summer.

Will is the son of Mark and Fran Nabholz. His father is a Mississippi College music professor who serves as the university’s choral director and conductor of the MC Singers.

As a result of this Spring’s health emergency, Will adjusted the way he gives assignments to Madison Central students. He made the assignments due in a few weeks instead of the following day. It gives students the freedom to learn the content at their own pace.

MC School of Education Dean Cindy Melton appreciates how student teachers adjusted so quickly. The ability to make changes rapidly is what MC education professors stress in their classes.

“One of the many things we share in our program is that flexibility is synonymous with teaching,” Melton said. “This semester our student teachers had to learn firsthand a lot more about flexible teaching and learning.”

One of the chief goals of the School of Education, she said, is to “help equip our students with tools they will need in the field. I am so grateful for what these students have been able to learn not only from our faculty, but also from their cooperating teachers and K-12 schools.”

Will Nabholz is paired with Madison Central High teacher Betsy Sullivan, a science adjunct instructor at Mississippi College.

At Northside Elementary in Clinton, student teacher Megan Hawkins is working with educator Meredith Jierski, an MC graduate. Megan is an MC elementary education major.

It’s another case of MC partnering with metro Jackson schools as students learn alongside veteran teachers.

“These schools are in unprecedented times and are making such a positive impact,” Melton said.

MC student teachers are seeing educators as well as district administrators finding creative and effective ways to offer online instruction. Members of this education team are serving to “teach, feed, counsel, and care for children in our communities. What an incredible learning experience for them!”