Aspiring Teachers Meet Pals Elementary, College Students Make Friends after Writing for Months

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Byline: Leslie Hague Daily Herald Staff Writer

Third-grader Alex Whitley had some advice Tuesday for aspiring teacher Meghan Bryson.

"Not homework," he told her. "You should do it in class. That should be the No. 1 rule of teaching."

The two, along with their classmates at Fox Ridge Elementary School in St. Charles and Judson College in Elgin, have been pen pals since the fall. They met for the first time Tuesday.

"I kept getting letters, and you only get a glimpse of who they are," Bryson said as Whitley smiled widely. "Now I know him, and he seems like a pretty cool guy."

The arrangement benefits both classes, Fox Ridge teacher Sandra Ranney said.

The third-graders get writing assignments on different topics and styles to send their pen pals to practice writing.

The education students at Judson College, who will be student teaching in the fall, can learn about students and watch the progression of their writing throughout the year, Associate Professor Kristen Stombres said.

The groups met for about an hour and a half, ate lunch, snapped pictures of their new friends and chatted. …