ALPENA – Students at Alpena High School will have the chance to learn what it is like to be a teacher in a new vocational and technical education course when school begins this fall.
Career and Technical Education Director Joyce McCoy said 20 students have enrolled in the new teachers’ academy.
High school teacher Elly Diamond said students will learn how children develop and learn, educational theories, classroom management, lesson plan design and teacher strategies. They will also receive first aid and safety certifications from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In the second semester, Diamond said, students will spend time in a classroom with a teacher-mentor, where they will observe teacher-student interactions.
She said she wanted the children to know if teaching is for them and what it means to be a teacher.
âIt’s more than standing in front of a group of kids every day,â she said.
The district received a grant of $ 66,800 from the Michigan Department of Education to help purchase the technology, equipment, and room decor needed for the classroom.
âWe are really looking forward to helping our Alpena students understand what a teacher’s job is because we need them,â said McCoy. âWe need them to finish their studies and hopefully come back to Alpena during their career, because we need great teachers. ”
McCoy said that public schools in Alpena have sometimes struggled to convince teachers that moving to Alpena is the best option for them. Sometimes a teacher can take a job early in the summer, she said, but then decide to return to work closer to home.
She said as more teachers retire, it will be harder and harder to hire new ones.
The hope, McCoy said, is that students at the new teachers’ academy can choose teaching as a career. They may also decide that they don’t want to become a teacher, which is also a valuable lesson.
Students who complete the academy will earn credits from Alpena Community College, McCoy said, and an agreement with Central Michigan University is also being worked out.
Diamond said she was excited to teach the class, as the education system currently finds itself in a unique place, between the coronavirus and other societal changes, like the internet, teaching is starting to change rapidly.
âThis group of kids, they’re going to change the way education is done,â she said. âWe’re just on point. We are just beginning this change. They will live it and make it happen. That’s what makes it exciting to me.
Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or [email protected]