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Georgia Southern education seniors complete a full year of teaching by graduation

Georgia Southern Education Seniors
Pictured (l-r) are Georgia Southern senior Carlasia Habeeb-Ullah, teacher mentor Ashley Sullivan, Ed.D., and senior Grace Jenkins.

Georgia Southern University seniors Grace Jenkins and Carlasia Habeeb-Ullah are slated to graduate this spring, but their careers as full-time educators have already begun.

In August 2021, the education majors assumed the roles of teachers of record at Pulaski Elementary School in Savannah as a part of the College of Education’s Paid Residency Program. 

Jenkins and Habeeb-Ullah receive a stipend, benefits and a year of credit toward retirement while completing the residency with the full-time guidance of a teacher from the school. Ashley Sullivan, Ed.D., serves as their support mentor-teacher, co-teaching and assisting the students as they navigate their own classroom setting for the first time.

“We are a team,” explained Sullivan. “If they don’t know something, they have me for support before they are completely on their own.”

According to the residents, the experience is invaluable.

“I absolutely love it,” said Habeeb-Ullah. “There’s no place I’d rather be, no thing I’d rather do. I have great support from my mentor-teacher as well as our University.

“From day one, I came in, taught from my heart, and have truly internalized, ‘I can do anything I put my mind to.’ My students motivate me daily because they give me the same encouragement that I’m instilling in them.”

Students completing the Paid Residency Program teach in their own classroom a semester prior to their fellow classmates while completing coursework at the University.

“I think this is benefitting them tremendously,” she said. “I would have loved this experience when I was in school.”

Habeeb-Ullah couldn’t agree more.

“The support and love I have received from my mentor, grade-level team and school community will positively impact my career in education forever,” she said.

Jenkins is passionate about this opportunity. 

“A real teacher is going to give everything to this position,” said Jenkins. “This is not just a job. This is not just a paid residency. This is my career. Anyone who has the love for teaching will be ready for this opportunity.”

The Paid Residency Program began in Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and will expand to Bulloch County Schools in fall 2022. Applications for the paid residency program are open March 1-23.

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