High school students in the exploring the teaching profession class, from all three high schools, had the opportunity to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to teaching Junior Achievement, JA, lessons at three elementary schools. Hazelwood Central High School students taught at Brown Elementary School, Hazelwood East High School students taught at Twillman Elementary School and Hazelwood West Students taught at Russell Elementary School. HSD is the first district in the area to have high school students in classrooms as teachers.
According to Nicole Bunner, exploring the teaching profession teacher at HWHS, students in the course learn to develop knowledge and skills in communication and organization as well as building relationships in the teaching community.
“The need for teachers is great and teaching has become a growing occupation for many college students,” said Bunner. “Teaching opportunities exist in many different settings, not just in the school setting. Corporate America and many consulting positions are available for individuals who enjoy working and facilitating skills and techniques to others. In our classes, we want to explore these options for students and give them a taste of what teachers, trainers and consultants do to prepare for their jobs.”
Katie Pagano, program manager at Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, reached out to the District to offer the opportunity for high school students to teach the “Our Families” program to elementary school students.
Nancy Doerr, exploring the teaching profession teacher at HEHS, said the opportunity for her students was very beneficial.
“We all met with Katie Pagano to discuss the program. After learning more about the program, we agreed that having the opportunity for our students to teach the very well-planned JA lessons in our schools would be very beneficial to our students,” said Doerr.
Amie Shea, exploring the teaching profession teacher at HCHS, said the program was a great match for the teaching-training components of the class curriculum.
“We used to teach a course called advanced child development, but we changed our curriculum to more closely match the state’s suggestions for family and consumer sciences high school program,” said Shea. “We found a lot of great teaching-training components in the JA program. We will probably continue this partnership. We found it to be very successful.”
Pagano and the JA staff spent time with the high school students teaching them the curriculum for the “Our Families” program. Students were allowed to see and read the lesson plans they would be teaching.
Shea said the JA program provided a good curriculum for the students to implement.
“The JA program is a canned curriculum so the lessons and activities are all planned for the students to implement. The students are easily able to
Kendrick Hooks with his students practice introducing the activities,” said Shea. “This canned curriculum
allows them to practice the teaching component which is really the only part
that I cannot teach.”
Bunner said the program was an excellent introduction and teaching tool on how to create, prepare and plan a lesson in the classroom.
“With this direction and structure, my students could focus on the curriculum and how to best facilitate the lesson to the students at Russell,” said Bunner. “Many realized they loved the commitment and dedication it takes to being a teacher, how much preparation and work it is for elementary school teachers and how hard it is to manage the classroom as well as have to teach the content or the curriculum at hand.”
Doerr said the program gave the students the chance to feel the reactions of students as they taught.
“The students got the opportunity to be on ‘the other side of the desk’ for the first time,” said Doerr. “This experience gave them a chance to actually experience the feeling of being the teacher, and allowed them to feel the reactions of the students as they presented the lessons. They were extremely excited to have this opportunity and prepared themselves very well prior to entering the classroom. They were able to be the ‘professionals’ in the classrooms.”
Emily Will, senior at HWHS, said she gained confidence from participating in the program.
“At first I was nervous, but after I got over the first lesson, it got better,” said Will. It helped give me the confidence to know that I can be a teacher. It showed me that teaching is for me. It was something I really enjoyed.”
Kendrick Hooks, senior at HEHS, said JA gave him the opportunity to actually experience teaching.
“This opportunity allowed me to get a feel for the classroom environment,” said Hooks. “We learn about teaching in our class, but to actually teach a class is totally different. The experience of working with children is something new. It’s helped me to get a taste of what I should expect someday.”
Asia Lotts, senior at HCHS, called the opportunity to observe elementary school teacher valuable.
“Our teacher was pretty no-nonsense. He expected his students to follow directions,” said Lotts. “He acted more like a parent to them. He showed us you could still be a good teacher and not baby the students. I learned there is a lot of repetition in elementary school.”
Samantha Johnson, HCHS; Taewan Jemerson, Brown Elementary teacher and Simona Hostetler, HCHS