When stepping into their classroom as an observer, one can see the future education leaders engrossed in virtual tutoring for young learners where they help build math and reading skills. One group practices sight words while another group drills multiplication tables.
Baswell plans to major in secondary education in Auburn University next year. Afterward, she would love to work as a math teacher in a Title I high school. On top of her busy schedule as a varsity cheerleader and senior class vice president at CHS, the 3-4-5-Thrive program is at the top of her volunteer list. The young man she tutors attends Franklin Forest Elementary (FFES). Of the experience, she said, “Watching him work so hard, even though he is a virtual student, amazes me. It takes a lot of dedication to learn online and I know he is destined to great things due to his work ethic.”
Melanie Reams is the TAP instructor at LHS. She has over 30 students in her classes ranging from Level 1 to Level 3. She feels they all plan to pursue degrees in education. For now, Level 1 students learn more about education theory, Level 2 students are introduced to hands-on experiences like tutoring, and Level 3 students will soon intern at FFES and be face-to-face with young learners.
Reams said, “This is a college preparatory program for those looking to get a four-year college degree. It provides an opportunity for those students to learn from teachers currently in the classroom. They can get a feel for what it takes to be an actual teacher while they are in high school.”
Patterson, who is a member of the LHS football team said he knows teaching is his calling, “I feel like it’s my destiny to teach. I have been in the TAP program since my freshman year. I want to be a teacher and a football coach.” He is looking forward to interning where he expects to meet the student he currently tutors.
One take-a-way Patterson feels will make him successful in his career is to have a plan, “I’ve learned you have got to have a lesson plan. When you are working with young people, you don’t want to run out of things to teach them.”
As for the continuation of the TAP program, Reams said the ultimate goal is for the district to grow their own teachers to help combat the shortage of education professionals. “I hope they will continue being interested in getting an education degree and come back to Troup County and teach,” she said.
Both Baswell and Patterson believe the TAP program is providing necessary life and work skills and they look forward to continuing in the education pathway.
Baswell said, “I would encourage students who are looking into teaching to find a teacher to look up to. To me, this is the best way to learn about the profession and truly gain empathy for our teachers who work so tirelessly every day.”
She continued, “Sometimes, you find these teachers who you look up to are your “why”. You quickly realize that you want to be THAT teacher for your students. I also think it’s important to recognize that every child deserves an education, and they deserve the same love and respect we as future educators would want for ourselves.”