Gabi is a senior and this is her fourth year in Journalism. She is a member of FBLA. She plans to major in elementary education.
Teacher Cadet Sets Students Up for Strong Futures
January 27, 2023
The new school year is coming like a freight train, so it’s time to think about what classes to take next year. If you’re an upperclassman and have any interest in going into teaching, you may want to consider signing up for Teacher Cadet.
Teacher Cadet I (TC1) is a course at FCHS that teaches students the fundamentals of education. The class is only open to juniors and seniors and is only available during 1st block. Students walk through several scenarios of how to handle classroom situations, prepare lesson plans, and teach. In addition, every student is required to do an internship at another Fluvanna County Public School (Central Elementary, Carysbrook Elementary, or Fluvanna Middle School), as well as complete a portfolio that includes sample lesson plans.
Upon completion, students have the opportunity to become Certified Teacher Assistant, opening the horizon for jobs after graduation.
Many former Teacher Cadets say they miss the excitement of teaching classes. “The TC1 class was fun since we got to do group competitions, participate in what our classmates were teaching, and the occasional ‘field trips’ around the school,” said FCHS junior Maritsa Nanduca.
Many students learn to grow throughout the class. “Definitely, one of my favorite parts of the class is watching the growth of the student,” class instructor Mitchell Pace said. “Typically [they go] from a nervous and tentative presenter into a confident and comfortable teacher in front of the classroom,” Pace added.
After completing Teacher Cadet I, students can take Teacher Cadet II the following year. While these classes have similarities, they also differ. For example, in TC1 the internship runs for roughly nine weeks, whereas in TC2 the internship is a semester-long affair. Internships involve assisting a teacher in the classroom by developing and presenting lesson plans, helping with classroom projects and working with students, and learning the grading process.
Teacher Cadet II requires a completed portfolio as well. Since the internship in TC2 is longer, the portfolio is more rigorous with higher standards than the TC1 version. “The difference between the TCI and TCII portfolios is the amount of creative freedom. For the TCI portfolio, there was so little to include and it wasn’t super specific. Getting all of the information was easy, but I didn’t get the chance to make it my own,” said senior Kiersten Ownby. “Now that I’m in TCII, there’s a long list of things to do and it almost forces you to take your own unique approach to things,” Ownby added.
As the internship and portfolio becomes longer and more challenging, what about TC1 makes TC2 appear rewarding? The engaging aspect of TC1 that made Ownby want to take Teacher Cadet II was that TC1 is “unique in the way that there are no tests and we end up learning while still having fun. We learned how to work together without judgment and encourage each other to do well, both in the classroom and when we were in our internships,” she explained.
But what makes TC2 not so seemingly worthwhile? Lending a hand to teachers and younger students isn’t always rosy, and sometimes the worst happens. Junior Sydney Gibson had a student pull her hair one morning. “I was so shocked, like he just grabbed my hair and started walking away,” Gibson said.
The Teacher Cadet course can also help high school students become more confident and organized learners, as well as help teachers and students in the community. With the demand for teachers projected to increase 7-8% over the next seven years and teaching being one of the most secure professions in terms of job security, this course could set a student up for a bright future.