Career Center Readers

By: Samantha Solliday
A book about a cat, named Quackers, who thinks he’s a duck, was a catalyst for literacy and a chance for 27 high school students to get some real world teaching experience at Cavazos Elementary School Thursday.

As part of Read for the Record, a national campaign to promote literacy throughout the United States, Career Center Education students took the opportunity to engage with pre-kindergarten through second-grade students and learn what it takes to teach.

“I want my students to engage, to take the lead in the classroom and use those strategies that we have been learning about,” said KISD Career Center Education teacher Tina Tamplen.

For the first-year education students, this was an opportunity for them to gain confidence in the classroom and to decide that they really want to pursue a career in education.

“For some of these first-year students, they are still a little unsure of themselves,” said Tamplen. “I wanted them to have a chance to plan activities and get into a classroom before they started going to their field sites.”

In groups of six, the student teachers traveled into various classrooms to read to Cavazos students and conduct their literacy activities.

The lesson began with a song, and the teachers danced with the students, clapping their hands and singing together before reading the story and asking questions.

The tale about understanding, acceptance, and learning that it’s ok to be whoever you want to be helped junior Natalia Goodman solidify her decision to go into teaching.

“I was nervous when I first heard that we would be doing this,” she said. “But this has been awesome and the teachers here have been so welcoming to us.

“Today has really helped me decide that I made the right choice with my future career. I think teaching elementary students would be great.”

Finishing the story, the student teachers then led the elementary students through activities that connected back to the story.

For one activity, students wrote something that they liked on a strip of paper. Then the papers were connected together to form a chain.

The visual activity was created to reinforce that even though the students like different things, differences could bring people together.

“I have seen them incorporate strategies and help each other when they get stuck. They have been so professional,” said Tamplen. “But most of all I have seen so many smiles today, both from them and the students.”

Junior Michael Gredler was thankful for the opportunities that the Career Center has provided.

“I love how advanced and focused the Career Center is,” he said. “Today has been great. I’ve learned to never speak monotone to students. They will not pay attention to you.”

The simple story reinforced to teachers-in-training and to elementary students that differences are special and so is teaching.