Ready to teach

When Ansley Keane graduates from Mount Holyoke in May of 2023, she will be ready to teach history to children — including the child of the director of undergraduate early childhood and elementary licensure programs at the College.

When Ansley Keane ’23 began at Mount Holyoke, she was unsure if she wanted to become a teacher. But working as a student teacher in the classroom affirmed that she wanted to build a career in teaching.

Now Keane is spending her last semester at Mount Holyoke as a student teacher at Amherst Regional High School and is on track to receive her teaching license for grades 5–12 at the College’s graduation in May.

“The best part of teaching is when you’re able to create a moment when a student finally figures out something they’ve been working on or when you’re able to help integrate an interest that a student has to help them further develop a love of learning,” Keane, a history major and education minor from Avon, Connecticut, said.

In January, Keane began her student teaching at Amherst Regional High School, where she’ll be taking over eleventh grade global history and twelfth grade economics classes.

“With history, it’s not just about memorizing things that happened in the past but about asking questions — why things happened in the past or why certain issues are important or why a certain historical issue or event matters today,” she said.

Prior to student teaching at Amherst Regional, Keane completed a teaching internship at Northfield Mount Hermon in Gill, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2022. She also assisted with tenth grade ethnic studies and eleventh grade world history at Holyoke High School’s Dean Campus during the fall 2022 semester.

“I know that I really want to start off my career in the classroom teaching, and I’m really excited about doing that,” she said.

Sarah Frenette, director of undergraduate early childhood and elementary licensure programs at Mount Holyoke, said she developed an advising relationship with Keane that started from her first semester.

“She was someone who came to Mount Holyoke knowing that teaching was one of the goals that she set for herself here,” Frenette said.

For Keane, the guidance that she’s received from Frenette has helped give her a path toward realizing her career goals as a teacher.

“Sarah has been a really great mentor to me and someone who’s been really helpful the whole time I’ve been interested in the program at Mount Holyoke. She is really kind and supportive and just does a great job of helping you find the right path for you,” she noted.

This semester, one of Keane’s students will be Frenette’s youngest son, Max, who is a senior in her economics class.

“When my son started his new set of classes, I said, ‘Wait a minute. I think you’re going to be learning from one of my students,’” Frenette said.

At the end of every spring semester, Frenette and her colleague Jackson Matos — director of undergraduate middle, secondary, and the arts teacher licensure programs — complete their final evaluations of student teachers. They both check off a box that reads, “Ready to teach.” But before they do that, they first ask themselves a question: “Is this person ready to teach my child or your child?”

Frenette said, “Being able to put that in context is really helpful for us to realize what a big responsibility it is to say, ‘Yes.’ And that’s really happening this semester for Ansley and my son Max.”

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