Ready, Set, Teach!

Rachel Sloan

For once, the students are in charge. In its second year, the Ready, Set, Teach! program gives students the opportunity to learn teaching skills and practice their hand at it in a real elementary classroom.

RST students visit Baghdad Elementary School each six weeks, working as a student teacher and aide for the students. They can choose what grade they want to help in and are able to experience what teaching a classroom of their own would be like.

“It gives me real hands-on experience in a classroom,” junior Danielle Stone said. “I’ve learned so much from just being there and getting to participate.”

The student teachers also benefit from the program because they can change grade levels as often as they feel necessary and find out which best suits them. Junior Emily Hamilton began with a fourth grade class, but quickly discovered she was much better suited in a second grade classroom.

“Often students think they want kindergarten or a younger grade,” Ready, Set, Teach! Teacher Jessica Thailing said.”But once experiencing it, they discover they want a higher grade.”

The younger students also benefit from the student teaching program.

“We give the students more one-on-one time,” Hamilton said. “They wouldn’t have that if there was only one teacher in the room.”

The experience allows both high school and elementary students the chance to bond with each other.

“It helps them build relationships and become comfortable with all kinds of people,” junior Amber Dever said.

The elementary students not only gain a friend, but also a role model.

“The kids really look up to our students and what they’re doing,” Thailing said. “Thanks to our examples I believe we are helping get a lot of these kids on the right track.”

Students can join the program by turning in an application found at either the guidance office or in Thailing’s classroom.

“If you really want to be a teacher this is definitely the program to be in,” Stone said. “Don’t let the economy get you down if this is what you truly believe you want to be.”