Teach Syracuse Program Helps Groom Next Generation of Educators
Published on 6/4/18
District News Corcoran High School HW Smith K-8 School Lincoln Middle School
At Lincoln Middle School one morning before school, a group of students is making vision boards to show what they want for their future. Their boards include words and images. Mindfulness. Brave. Be proud. Work hard. Don’t be negative. Listen. Help others.
“We’re thinking about what it takes to be a good teacher,” one of them explains.
At HW Smith after school, students in one classroom are quietly clicking away on laptops. They’re taking an online quiz to help them learn about different styles of teaching.
Both schools are in their first year of implementing Teach Syracuse clubs – with the goal of recruiting SCSD students to eventually become teachers. The idea? Help middle school students with an interest in teaching to develop the skills they will need to be successful as classroom leaders.
“I want to be a chemist when I grow up” Lincoln sixth grader Ren’Tasia Broome said. “But I wanted to be in this club because I thought I might also want to help teach chemistry to kids. It’s important for all kids to get an education and this club might let us help them.”
HW Smith seventh grader Lisa Weah said the club is also helping her narrow her career interests.
“I’ve been thinking about becoming a chemist, a lawyer or a history teacher,” she shared. “Because this Teach Syracuse group is available to me, I wanted to check it out. It’s helped me learn the process it takes to become a teacher and why my teachers decided to teach – I’m able to figure out if this could be the path for me.”
The Teach Syracuse program started in the SCSD during the 2016-17 school year with the launch of the Urban Teaching Preparation Program at Corcoran, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway of study. This year, as part of a partnership with the Syracuse University School of Education, the Teach Syracuse program expanded into Lincoln and HW Smith as a way to help capture students’ interest in the field of education at an even younger age.
At HW Smith, Teach Syracuse meetings have included discussions about what it means to be a teacher in an urban setting, including the pros and cons. Students have learned how to differentiate in a classroom to teach different types of learners and they have watched TED talks to help inspire them.
“It’s cool to see them developing an interest in teaching,” HW Smith Teach Syracuse Advisor Manny DeJesus said. “They’re coming in with questions and rather than giving them the answers, we’re talking about what resources they would need to find their own answers. Our goal is, as seventh graders, to expose these students to teaching as a career and then keep them coming back. The idea is that we can help them transition into a teaching program in high school and college so they have a head start and a better idea of what they want to do for their career.”
The Lincoln Teach Syracuse group said they hope to visit SCSD elementary schools to read with younger students and help their students practice what they have been learning in the club. HW Smith students say they are eager to work with teachers in their school to help develop their own lesson plans that they could use to teach younger students.
“I’ve had some teachers that I don’t think have taught me well,” HW Smith seventh grader Nadine Arnold said. “I joined Teach Syracuse because I want to learn the tricks to helping to keep a classroom calm and effective in case I do become a teacher. I want to make sure that other kids learn in a way where they ‘get it.’ We’ve learned some strategies to help calm students if they become too distracted, and they have even helped me as a student to keep myself on track.”
Toward the end of the school year, all of our Teach Syracuse groups hope to take part in the Syracuse University ‘Educators Day’ in which they will visit the SU campus to meet with students and staff in the School of Education.