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PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: Richland One’s Teacher Cadet Program Provides Insight into Teaching Profession for High School Students

 

Mia Amos Teacher Cadet ClassDreher High School junior Mia Amos has always had a passion for music and she hopes to become a music teacher one day. She joined Richland One’s Teacher Cadet Program this school year because she thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her to get experience in a classroom before graduating high school. 

 

“I had a lot of teachers who inspired me to become a musician and I want to do that for other kids,” Mia said.

 

Richland One’s Teacher Cadet Program provides high school students with insight into the teaching profession and the critical issues affecting the quality of education in schools across the United States. Sixty-seven Richland One students from six high schools are in the program this school year.

 

“Richland One’s aim is to grow and retain our own teachers. The Teacher Cadet Program assists to encourage academically talented, high-achieving, high school students with exemplary interpersonal leadership skills to consider teaching as a career,” said Anita Stroman, the academic integration consultant in Richland One’s Office of Career and Technical Education.

 

Students start out by learning from the Teacher Cadet curriculum, which consists of three units. “Experiencing Learning” focuses on different learning styles and how each person’s learning style is different. “Experiencing the Classroom” helps students become more acquainted with the personal and professional roles of teachers. “Experiencing the Teaching Profession” gives students a better understanding about the history of education and the teaching profession, how school systems work and the steps they need to become certified. 

 

Students then apply their knowledge through a six-week field experience in a classroom with a certified teacher. After completing their field experience, students put together a portfolio that consists of what they’ve learned during the course and their field experience.

 

Students are typically assigned to elementary or middle schools in their cluster area for their field experience, based on their desired grade level and subject area interests.

 

Mia Amos Teacher Cadet Field AssignmentMia was assigned to work with A.C. Moore Elementary School music teacher Julia Turner. She says working with third-grade and fourth-grade students has given her a different perspective on education than she had when she attended A.C. Moore.

 

“Being in the classroom, I’ve been able to play the students’ instruments with them and teach them how to play the instruments properly with my teacher. I’ve been able to be at a behind-the-scenes level instead of the student level,” Mia said. “Experiencing being a teacher is different than hearing stories about it.”

 

Turner, who is in her first year at A.C. Moore and Richland One, says she’s been able to grow as a teacher alongside Mia.

 

“When I reflect on my teaching, I’m actively reflecting with her. When she’s reflecting on her teaching, I’m able to sort of show her what I’m coming from as someone that’s still early in the profession and actively reflecting on what I do,” said Turner.

 

Richland One Teacher Cadets who complete the program can also earn college credit from either the University of South Carolina or Columbia College.

 

“Every school has a college partner that is a post-secondary institution with a teacher education program that commits to nurturing the next generation of exemplary teachers,” said Stroman.

 

If students decide not to go into education, Stroman says they can still benefit from the program.

 

“If students choose not to become educators, we are developing future community leaders who will become civic advocates for public education,” she said.

 

Mia encourages anyone who has an interest in education or wants to help other students succeed to join the Teacher Cadet Program.

 

“It’s a good program not just for teachers, but for anyone who wants to learn the behind the scenes of everything about education,” she said.

 

High school students interested in becoming a Teacher Cadet should contact their school counselor or Teacher Cadet instructor.

 

The ProTeam program for middle school students is offered at Alcorn Middle School. The program aims to get middle school students interested in the education profession before reaching high school. For more information about the ProTeam program, contact ProTeam instructor Connie King at connie.king@richlandone.org.