October 16, 2021
Where will the Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers come from tomorrow? For many school districts in Missouri, it is possible that these people come from their own classrooms. At least that’s one of the hopes of the educators who planned and organized the Future Teacher Academy (FTA) on October 6 at the University of Central Missouri.
Assisted by approximately 450 middle and high school students and 50 mentor teachers, the Future Teacher Academy is a cooperative effort designed to help students explore teaching as a possible career. This initiative involves faculty and students from the College of Education (CoE) at UCM, faculty and students from over 30 Missouri school districts, representatives from the Heart of Missouri Regional Professional Development Center (DPRK) , the Central Missouri DPRK and the Missouri Department of Elementary. and Secondary education.
The academy started in 2018 as part of UCM’s Faculty of Education’s Grow Your Own Future efforts and involved 10 students. But as the relationship between the public school and the university developed, so did this event.
“I have had the privilege of working with school district partners to bring students and faculty sponsors to campus to inspire them to view teaching as a career,” said Linda Glasgow, who is coordinator of the UCM paraprofessional program and is part of the team. who helped plan this year’s FTA. “I think the exponential growth the program has experienced is the result of the relationships formed between the faculty and students of UCM and the faculty and students of the school district.”
She said events like the academy place importance on providing participants with the opportunity to see themselves as future students and future teachers.
While this was the first year middle school students attended, she said, âThe high school students who attended our past events enjoyed and learned from UCM’s greatest resource: our students and teachers. UCM students and faculty presented in panel form and demonstrated what it looks and feels like to attend UCM. Students talk about college life and how to balance college life, college education and jobs. The professors share their paths towards teaching and the path towards the teaching profession at UCM.
By further enhancing learning opportunities, academy participants engage in activities that help them understand the teaching profession and the important role teachers play in their communities.
“We hope to inspire students to choose teaching as a career and to choose to return home to their community as teachers,” said Glasgow. âThe events are an invitation to the teaching profession and to make a difference in the lives of students. “
Also part of the planning team, Meredith Beggs, Assistant Instructor, Primary Education and Mathematics Specialist, shared a long list of schools that were part of this year’s event. While there were participants from large suburban schools such as Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit school districts in the Kansas City metro area, students also came to campus from many rural communities, such as Calhoun, Lone. Jack and Slater, to name a few. Beggs said the UCM, DESE and the DPRK have sent out invitations to the event to teachers and faculty sponsors of future teachers’ clubs at middle and high schools across the region.
âThe teachers / faculty sponsors then shared the information with students who might be interested in the teaching profession. Some of the districts have attended previous FTA events and are coming back here, âBeggs noted.
The day-long event began in the ballroom of the Elliott Student Union, where UCM President Roger Best shared a recorded message that welcomed attendees and also reflected the teachers who l ‘have inspired her throughout her teaching career. UCM Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Phil Bridgmon also spoke. Opportunities for participant interaction and bonding followed.
âFirst, the students spent time discussing their ‘why’ for considering a career in education. A few volunteers shared their thoughts with the rest of the group. We then created a word cloud using the Inspirational Teacher Qualities / Traits Mentimeter, âsaid Brandy Lynch, assistant physical education teacher. âWe highlighted some of the common themes and then watched a short video on the power of relationships (between teachers and students in a school setting). “
As the event continued, she said, âThe students had the opportunity to share inspiring teacher stories with each other (and again, a few were shared with the whole group). To wrap up, we took a Kahoot quiz that covered scholarship information, UCM history, and UCM CoE (College of Education) graduate statistics. The aim was to create an interactive and high-energy environment where students could identify and make personal connections with the characteristics of inspiring teachers.
After lunching at the Residences, courtesy of UCM Admissions, the day ended in the Union Ballroom where Darrion Cockrell, Missouri 2021 Teacher of the Year, gave the keynote address . Affectionately nicknamed “Mr. DC” by his physical education students at Crestwood Elementary School in the suburban St. Louis Lindbergh school district, Cockrell has been teaching for six years. It’s an opportunity, he said, thanks to many teachers who have made a difference in his life. He lost his father at the age of five, he spent time with foster care and at the age of 10 he joined a gang. He spoke of a bumpy road filled with many of the challenges he faced growing up in a tough neighborhood, and what it meant for him to eventually graduate from college. To do so, he had overcome obstacles in his youth, including learning disabilities and bouts of anxiety and depression.
âOver twenty years ago, I never imagined being in this position where I am today. It’s definitely a trip to say the least. But that’s the great thing about life. It’s the journey we go through day in and day out and the connections we make with others along the way, âCockrell told the assembly. âIf it weren’t for my educators, who have helped me stay focused and on track throughout my crazy journey of life, I cannot with confidence or certainty tell you that I would be standing here. today.”
He told the students that if they wanted to become educators, they had to be prepared to “wear many hats.” Among the many suggestions that Cockrell has offered to young audiences is the importance of being âauthenticâ in their future work with students. He stressed the importance for prospective teachers of making sure they learn the names of their students and of seeking and sharing information that will help build good teacher-student relationships. Cockrell also emphasized the importance of being able – as a teacher – to connect, inspire, love and support students whose lives are affected by their education.
In addition to his recent state recognition, Cockrell received a National Box Tops for Education Twilight Award 2020, presented by Grammy-winning rapper, singer-songwriter and activist Chance the Rapper.
The Future Teacher Academy follows a 150-year tradition of teacher preparation at Central Missouri University and the university’s long-held motto, “Education for Service.” While UCM today offers more than 150 different study programs, the institution was founded in 1871 as the State Normal School, Second Normal District, with the mission of preparing teachers who could serve Missouri schools.