SOUTH ELGIN – Amanda Oie hasn’t even graduated from high school yet, but she already knows which grades she wants to teach.
“The lower grade levels are a little early for me,” the South Elgin resident said. “I like the attention span that the third- through fifth-graders have.”
Oie, 18, will double major in elementary education and special education with a minor in music at Aurora University in the fall. She graduates from St. Charles North High School on Sunday.
Oie already has some classroom instruction experience, thanks to the Introduction to Teaching program at St. Charles North. She taught third-graders at Corron Elementary in South Elgin during her junior year, and this year she taught Corron’s fourth-graders.
To manage her classrooms, Oie usually starts her lessons with her students up on their feet. She likes interacting with students through activities and games instead of simply talking to them, so they can actually see what they are supposed to be doing.
Oie’s student teaching has only reinforced her longstanding desire to be an educator.
“Literally, my kindergarten teacher got me hooked on teaching,” Oie said.
Oie recalls attending a full-day kindergarten day care program at Bright Horizons near Arlington Heights. She said her teacher constantly would have her assist the other students. When her brother was in the same class four years later, she came back to help over the summer.
The Oie siblings in 2005 began karate lessons, which helped develop their confidence and respect. Amanda Oie is now a third-degree black belt and an instructor at National Karate in Bartlett.
“Between karate and my parents, it’s really helped shape my maturity,” Oie said.
She said she will continue to teach karate while at Aurora University and also return to singing. She became really involved in her middle school’s choir program and continued through her sophomore year, but she left the stage so she could student teach.
She auditioned and received a scholarship and a place in the Aurora University choir program. She hopes to be able to create her own songs to help her students.
Even with all her commitments, Oie will have to get used to not being in front of a classroom now that her two-year student teaching stint is over.
“I think it’ll be rough at first because I’m used to being so hands-on,” Oie said. “But it will be a welcome change in the fact that I’m going to be learning different techniques for the classrooms.”
The Kane County Chronicle continues its annual series this week profiling graduating seniors from local high schools. This year, we also will provide an update on graduates we previously featured. For more local graduation news and photos, visit www.kcchronicle.com/graduation2014.