Future teachers

New teacher internship program to give students a chance to teach

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Photo by and used with the permission of Nicole Sharratt

Taken during child development (circle time), students are able to delve deeper into the teaching career. The class will be offered starting next semester.

Mckenzee Johnson, Bear Facts Contributor

A new internship opportunity that allows students to try out teaching will be offered as a class next semester.

The Family and Consumer Sciences Department is starting a teacher internship program second semester, which will allow seniors who have taken education classes to work in elementary classrooms around District 95. The program will be run by Nicole Sharratt, family and consumer sciences teacher. 

“In the past, a lot of students were interested in going into teaching, and they’ve always taken child development, our preschool class,” Sharratt said.  “[But] it’s kind of a dead end, right? You just take the preschool and keep doing the preschool. So in order to give them something more, we wanted to offer a career pathway for those… who are really interested in being teachers.” 

Up until now classes for students interested in teaching have been “all paperwork and book work,” Sharratt said. Through this new program, however, allows seniors who have taken Intro to Teaching to get experience inside an actual classroom.

“Now they actually can go [into] the elementary schools, Kindergarten through five, [and] they’ll be able to feel what it’s really like to be a teacher,” Sharratt said. 

And the move to actually being in elementary classrooms instead of just learning about teaching from textbooks has students excited.

“Since eighth grade, I’ve always wanted to become a teacher. And when I found out this class was being offered, I’m like, ‘You know what, this is perfect for me’,” Jonathan Cotsiomitis, senior, said. “It’s a perfect introduction to becoming a teacher in the future.”

The internship program is part of a new learning pathway, a set of classes that students can take for credit. In order to take the class, students need to have completed the pre-requisites. According to Sharratt, completion of this program and the prerequisites will give students something to use for future opportunities, such as job or college applications.

“They take the internship class, and then they can not only put that in their resume, they can use that towards college, and they can get what’s called a career pathway endorsement,”  Sharratt said. “And they can put that on their high school graduation diploma, and they’ll be eligible for scholarships too.” 

Sharratt says students are very enthusiastic about the program, and hopes that it will allow students more options in the future.

“[The program is]  gonna be a great opportunity for them to get in the classroom before they go to college and see what they really want. If they really want to be a teacher,” Sharratt said. “[Hopefully] it’ll get [students to become] aspiring teachers, and then maybe someday they’ll come back and be teachers at Lake Zurich or in the surrounding area.”

Currently there are eighteen seniors signed up to take the class, including Natalie Dziubinski, senior.

“I’m just really excited to work with kids. I love kids,” said Dziubinski, who has been tutoring younger students in flute since the start of the pandemic. “And part of the reason I want to become a teacher is to be a role model.”

But for others, the class is just another step toward a lifelong dream.

“I’m excited because I love working with little kids[…]. Teaching in a school setting will be cool,” Kate Thompson, senior, said. “I always thought I was going to be a teacher. A lot of my family are teachers. And so I thought that it’d be cool to look into it at least because I thought it was gonna be my entire life.”