Student teacher spotlight: Chantal McGill

At the beginning of March, Chantal McGill began student teaching at Lakeside and feared “getting mistaken for one of the students.”  

A week after she arrived, she was grateful for the atmosphere at LLHS.  “I have learned that while teaching in a high school can be difficult and at times frustrating, it also is very rewarding. The students and staff have already made me feel welcome,” she says. “Everyone is friendly and says hi to one another in the hallways. Students and staff not only care about each other, but they genuinely show it in their words and actions too.”

A “Safer at Home” order left the hallways quiet and changed Chantall’s experience dramatically. Martin Luther College sent student teachers home and now she is learning how to teach remotely.

“It has been a challenge being home in Michigan away from school and my teacher,” she says. “It has also been rewarding finding ways to be creative and continue to keep the classes close to what they were in person, online. All of the resources shared throughout the synod and other teachers have made it easier to navigate what is available.”

Chantal is double majoring in Elementary Education and Secondary Physical Education. She grew up in Saint Charles, Mich., and graduated from Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

Her grade school and high school teachers’ example motivated her to become a teacher. “I also loved the idea of learning a lot of information about many different subject areas,” she says. “I wanted to become a physical Education teacher because I love sports and exercise. It is exciting to learn new activities and be able to share them with others.”

Even from home.

Student teacher spotlight: Sarah Dewey

student-teacher-dewey.jpgThe Extended Learning Center is welcoming Sarah Dewey as a student teacher. She was born in Janesville, Wis., but grew up in the LaCrosse area, graduating from Luther High School, Onalaska.

She is double majoring in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. “I have always wanted to become a teacher, but my first visit to MLC really solidified that,” she says.

Because she’s an Early Childhood major, “really anything above 5th grade makes me nervous,” she says. But it wasn’t the students she was worried about. “I think the biggest thing was really not knowing the content and not being able to help the students,” she shared. In just a few days, however, she realized that she is equipped and “can help with any class.” It didn’t hurt that “it seems to be a family here at Lakeside. Everyone has been so welcoming.”

Student teacher spotlight: Kasandra Wagner

student-teacher-wagner.jpgKasandra Wagner is student teaching in Jodie Schommer’s classroom this semester. Wagner spends most of her time in different places around the Midwest. She grew up near Aurora, Ill., and attended Luther Prep for high school. Three years ago her dad took a call to Sioux Falls, S.D. She spends her school year in New Ulm and her summers working at Camp Phillip, Wis.  

“My major is technically Communication, Arts, and Literature Secondary Education, but most people just call it an English Major,” she explains. 

Her dad is a teacher, so she always considered becoming one. In addition, “I had some really great teachers in high school that helped me learn more about life along with school work. They inspired me to want to do the same thing in my own classroom one day,” she says.

Because Wagner isn’t that much older than the students she’s teaching, she says “it’s intimidating to gain the respect necessary to manage a classroom when I’m often mistaken for one of their peers in the hall.” But she quickly overcame that. “Coming in the middle of the semester is tough since everyone already has their routines,” she says. “The faculty as well as the students didn’t make me feel like some strange college student wandering around, but quickly welcomed me like I was part of the Lakeside family.”

In addition to classroom techniques she appreciates that “Mrs. Schommer has taught that each students’ needs as an individual person are more important than just getting through the content of the class.”

History-making student teacher on campus

This quarter, Lakeside Lutheran is privileged to have student teacher Annalies Brander on campus. Mrs. Hirschfeld is mentoring Miss Brander in the Extended Learning Center this spring. Annalies, who is double majoring in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


She hadn’t considered special education until she worked at a Jesus Cares camp. “It was so rewarding,” she says. “So I started taking all the classes.”

Considering that she is majoring in early childhood education, she was surprised by how much she enjoys working with high schoolers. “I wasn’t fond of high schoolers when I was in high school, so I was terrified when I found out I’d be going to a high school,” she admits.

But the Lakeside students and her experience so far has changed her mind. “It’s going really well,” she says. She enjoys getting to know the students she works with in study hall. I love finding out “how I can best help them and how they can succeed.”

This means “I’ve had to relearn things, like pre-Algebra,” she says. “I also have to learn how to explain things in many different ways. What might make sense to me doesn’t make sense to someone else,” she says. “It’s taught me to be very, very flexible.”

Miss Brander is the first special education student teacher sent out by Martin Luther College and we couldn’t be happier that she is here! Be sure to stop by the ELC and welcome her!