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Educating & Inspiring

How today’s youth are teaching tomorrow’s leaders

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“Honestly, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Zainab said. “I don’t think this type of program is offered in many schools, so I am extremely thankful to be a part of this.”

“Honestly, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Zainab said. “I don’t think this type of program is offered in many schools, so I am extremely thankful to be a part of this.”

Cami Boyack

Cami Boyack

“Honestly, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Zainab said. “I don’t think this type of program is offered in many schools, so I am extremely thankful to be a part of this.”

Cami Boyack, Reporter

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The CTE center is home to many classes for a variety of students. Here, students can learn and grow through hands-on training that will benefit them later should they chose to pursue a career in the subject.

One of the many paths offered at the CTE center is the Education and Training program, where students can gain valuable experience in the field of teaching.

“This class is basically like a shadowing program for students interested in teaching,” junior Zainab Anjum said. “It allows students to have internship experience beforehand and, as a result, have a realistic view of what teaching is like.”

By choosing a school, mentor teacher, and grade level, these student teachers get an chance to be almost like a real teacher for a year.

“It’s an opportunity to go out and learn things you can’t learn from sitting in a desk, but instead you have to learn by standing up and teaching it,” junior Macy Su said.

This past year, interviews were held around March to decide who would be in the Education & Training program. The program was only accepting around 20 students from the whole district. Every student from Heritage who applied was accepted.

“Honestly, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Zainab said. “I don’t think this type of program is offered in many schools, so I am extremely thankful to be a part of this.”

The class comes with its challenges. Senior Hannah Verhagen, a second-year student in the class, sheds some light on the reality of being a student teacher.

“[The biggest challenge is] definitely getting to know the [troubled students’ personalities and what they go through] and trying to understand their home life,” Hannah said. “It’s just [learning] how to teach them along with the actually good kids that are doing well.”

The student teacher interns gain experience how teachers deal with these tough students and classes that are inevitable.

“I didn’t realize that you have to cater every single lesson to every student’s needs, every Special Education student, every kid that has dyslexia,” Hannah said. “I thought every student was perfect, that no one has any problems, you can just make one lesson, but in reality you have to make like 30 different lessons.”

Though many know that teaching can have its ups and downs, many don’t realize the challenges and emotional tolls that come with being a male teacher in a female-dominated career path. Centennial High School Junior Ivan Lawson is the only boy in the entire district enrolled in the class. His passion and love for teaching is just as strong as the girls who are in his class, and his motivation comes from a deeper place. But no matter how strong the bonds are in the class, Ivan says he definitely feels the gender divide.

“I do think there are some [gender barriers],” Ivan said. “A lot of people are worried about male teachers being near younger kids. And there is the issue that most people ask if I’m just trying to get with a girl, so honestly there’s a stigma here about male teachers.”

Though the challenges are present, Ivan finds strength through his classmates.

“I think the class itself is very accepting and all the girls understand and don’t care if I’m a boy or not,” Ivan said.

With all these obstacles that come with earning this valuable experience, it’s important to remember the true purpose and reason why these students take the class.

“It’s so much more than like learning to become a teacher,” Macy said. “It’s bonding with your mentor teacher, bonding with your kids, and most importantly bonding with the entire art of teaching.”

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