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High schools paving the path for future educators
09.11 B. Long
Becky Long explains the ethical standards expected of Georgia's teachers. - photo by Photo provided

Wearing flip flops (a fundraiser for the Red Cross), eating donuts and still trying to wake up, the students in Sheryl Howell’s first block class, Examining the Teaching Profession, at South Effingham High School don’t look like teachers yet, but they are learning what it will take to become one.

As part of the “Teaching Pathway,” these juniors and seniors will soon get to apply what they’ve learned so far when they begin shadowing a teacher in an Effingham County classroom. In addition to the hands-on, real-life experience they’ll acquire during this time, they could also earn college credit before they even step foot on a college campus.

Both SEHS and ECHS offer the “Teaching Pathway” courses which are part of a program that has been around for the past 10 years. In fact, some of the first graduates of this program are now teaching in Effingham County schools.

One course, Examining the Teaching Profession, prepares students for future positions in the field of education. They study, apply and practice the use of current technologies, effective teaching and learning strategies, the creation of an effective learning environment and the creation of instructional opportunities for diverse learners and students with special needs.

They also plan instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, community, and curriculum performance standards.

In addition to the curriculum and classroom experience, Howell has invited several educators to speak with her students and share their insight into teaching as a career. These guest speakers include Superintendent Randy Shearouse and SEHS Principal Mark Winters, who shared why they chose to pursue careers as teachers and then later as administrators.

Mary Ruth Ray of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) spoke to the students about participating in the Future Educators of America club. The club offers opportunities for students to collaborate with other future teachers, perform service projects for the community and participate in competitive events.

Becky Long, human resources director for the BOE, spoke to the students about the ethics and standards expected of Georgia educators. Among other things, she advised them to be careful about the use of personal Web sites such as Facebook and My Space, and she also explained the importance of being honest when completing a job application.