North Hills students step into teaching gig

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Savannah Daniel has always known she wants to be a teacher, but her classmates McKamie Harrison and Sa Rang Park weren’t quite as sure.
“Up until this year I really had no idea what I wanted to do,” Harrison said. “But teaching has always been in the back of my mind as a career option.”
Park said growing up, she would play teacher with her younger sisters.
“Even in school when my peers would need help solving problems or understanding concepts, I enjoyed helping them out,” she said.
The three North Hills Christian School students have had an opportunity to figure out whether or not teaching is the right career path for them through the school’s new Teacher Cadet program.
Launched last fall, the program began with a class where students studied topics ranging from curriculum development to dealing with parents to classroom management.
“It’s really an abbreviated teacher education program so that they know how to a classroom and prepare objectives,” Dr. Shirley Luckadoo, the school’s curriculum coordinator, said.
This semester students are spending a total of 15 weeks shadowing three teachers, each in different grade levels and subjects.
“First of all they watch,” Luckadoo said. “They also assist teachers with tutoring students, grading papers and doing other things that teachers do every day.”
And they aren’t just sitting back taking notes, they’re actually up at the front of the classroom leading lessons and answering questions.
“We felt like it would be a good thing to offer our students an opportunity if they were interested in teaching to actually try out the teaching profession,” Luckadoo said.
Daniel, a senior, said getting a hands-on look at teaching has solidified her decision to pursue a career in education.
“This is a great way to get experience and learn basic things that people probably don’t know,” she said. “I’ve learned how to work with kids and how each child react differently to the way you teach.”
Daniel plans to teach elementary school and attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Harrison, a junior, said after teaching elementary students this semester she plans to pursue a career as a high school math teacher.
“I’m pretty good at math and I enjoy helping others get it too,” she said. “But I would not have been as comfortable going into the classroom without the things that I learned last semester.”
Park, a senior, said although she learned a lot through the experience she isn’t quite sure teaching is the right gig for her.
“I don’t know if I’ll enjoy doing this my entire life,” she said. “If God leads me in a different direction then that’s where I’m going.”
But Park said she hasn’t ruled out teaching completely.
“I saw that teachers are very engaged with students both inside and outside the classroom, helping students improve in their studies and social skills,” she said. “I learned a lot about the different roles that teachers play.”
Luckadoo said although teacher cadets is a pilot program she plans to continue it next year.
Head of School Matt Mitchell said the program provides students a “tremendous opportunity.”
“From development of lesson objectives to classroom management skills to navigating the process of parent conferencing, this program gives students a front row look into the educational process.” he said. “As a result, many students confirm or reject teaching as a prospective career and gain hands-on training and experience while they are still in high school.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.