Schoolhouse, one of Radford University’s newest living-learning communities, is now open
Abby Tefft is often asked why she wants to be a teacher.
“The main reason is I want to make a difference in our community, in Virginia, or wherever I end up teaching,” said Tefft, a Radford University freshman education major from Chesapeake.
“Being a teacher has always resonated with me,” she continued as she decorated her Moffett Hall room on move-in day. “I’ve always liked and gotten along well with my teachers, and they have inspired me to be a teacher.”
The inspiration she gleaned over the years from a community of teachers is one reason she chose to live in a community of freshmen students who also aspire to make a difference as educators.
One of the newest additions to Radford University’s living-learning communities this year is Schoolhouse, a living space on the third floor of Moffett Hall that connects and inspires prospective teachers from all disciplines and grade levels. It’s also designed to facilitate relationship building between students and faculty.
“It’s very open and loving here. As soon as I walked in, I was met by my professors. They’re very helpful,” Tefft said. “They’re very caring people and this is definitely going to be a really great program.”
In its inaugural year, 27 freshmen students have moved into the space, eager to get started working toward their teaching careers, and helping fellow students do the same.
Schoolhouse admission is open to students who plan to pursue teacher licensure, which typically includes interdisciplinary studies – including elementary, middle and special education – health and physical education; K-12 art, music, dance and Spanish education; and secondary education that includes English, social studies, mathematics and science.
Schoolhouse programming is supported in part by a gift from Barbara Lindauer ’54, who encouraged aspiring teachers and included Radford University in her estate plans.
Beyond their freshman year, students will have opportunities to serve as mentors to incoming students, as well as engage in leadership opportunities related to their future teaching careers.
“It’s pretty cool to be with other students who are wanting to be teachers,” said Destiny Brown, who wants to teach high school English.” If I get stuck or have questions, I can go next door or down the hall and talk to someone who is in a similar position.”
Katie McKenzie of Hillsville echoed Brown’s thoughts.
“The Schoolhouse is a great opportunity for all of us,” said McKenzie, whose goal is to teach in an elementary school, preferably third grade. “We’re all here together, so we can go through the same exact things together and really help each other out.
“It will be helpful if we need help with preparing a lesson plan or just talking and figuring out ways we can help kids learn better,” McKenzie continued. “Being here will help us a lot.”
Making connections are vital to the success of the students living in the Schoolhouse community. Throughout the academic year, students will have opportunities to work with education faculty, take courses that count toward program requirements with other Schoolhouse members, and engage in regular social activities with fellow students and faculty.
“It’s nice for them to be with like-minded students. It’s going to be really good for them,” said Delora Tefft, Abby’s grandmother. “It’s their first time away from home and they’re experiencing a lot of neat things. To have something that is constant and to have people surrounding them who are like-minded and want to do the same thing and have the same goals is really nice. It’s going to help them achieve their goals.”
Even before classes had begun, Taylor Worstell was getting cozy in her new accommodations and all the Schoolhouse was offering.
“I love it. We’re going to build such good connections,” said Worstell, Abby Tefft’s roommate. “When we go out and teach in our careers, we’ll always have these connections. I love this Radford community, and that’s one reason I picked this school.”