(Editor's Note: Katelyn Borsos is a senior at South Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto South Plainfield this year.)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ- South Plainfield High School's Tomorrow's Teachers course is a few months into its second year. The senior elective, run by special education Sharon McGrath, is geared toward students considering a career in education.
The primary goal of the Tomorrow’s Teachers course is to ‘encourage academically able students who possess exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career.’ The program is also designed to provide students ‘with insights about teachers and schools so that they will be civic advocates of education.’
When former SPHS principal Dr. James Pedersen implemented this program, McGrath decided to take on the task of teaching the course and proving students enrolled the opportunity to earn college credits. “The program was implemented because Dr. Pedersen wanted to expand the options for students pertaining to career electives,” McGrath said. “I’ve always liked working with new teachers and I have mentored first year teachers before. I was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and really enjoyed teaching a college level class.”
Currently, there are 16 students enrolled in the class. Throughout the first marking period, students began focusing on self-esteem projects and establishing themselves as teachers. Some self-esteem activities included decorating a personal coat of arms and creating a children’s book. Students also learned about the structure and functions the schools and gained insight into the significance of the profession and the impact teachers have.
During the current second marking period, which began Nov. 4 and runs until Jan. 20, the psychological aspect of teaching is being covered. Students are discussing different learning styles, and exploring diversity, and examining the various stages of learners. Additionally, students were paired up and assigned a month to decorate a bulletin board near the classroom; they will continue to maintain the board for the remaining of the year.
“I enjoy talking about teaching and seeing it from a different point of view,” SPHS senior James Joyner, whose future goals include becoming a high school English teacher, said, adding, “Plus, I can not wait until we begin student teaching.”
Throughout the second half of the school year, students will begin working within a classroom setting and become acquainted with professional educators. Students will also be able to reflect back and evaluate upon their experiences with their classmates. In addition, those enrolled in the Tomorrow’s Teachers program will be given the opportunity to create and share their own personal philosophy with classmates as well as continue to write article reflections and analyze selected quotes by fellow students.
McGrath said she loves teaching the class and "hopes to see the program expand into a two-year course for juniors and seniors."
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