TOT Students Bring Teacher Assistance to Hillcrest Classes
By Jailene Peralta, Copy Editor
Photos by Mutasem Sayeedi
A new up and coming program has been initiated in the Teachers of Tomorrow SLC which puts students in Hillcrest classrooms as Teacher Assistants. The initiative partners Seniors with their former teachers in order to further their teaching experience by gaining real-world experience in high school classrooms.
Although two years in the making, the program started earlier this year. It is an expansion of their successful Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom (PERC) and Teaching Assistance Scholars program (TAS) where students “work under the guidance of a teacher to instruct small groups of their peers” according to the PERC website.
Former Teachers of Tomorrow director Ms. Alli believed the program will allow our students to get a realistic teaching experience that educators face in this new landscape of evaluations and professional development. According to former SLC Director Ms. Alli, “Students spend four days a week interacting with students in the classroom and then spend one day a week gaining professional development around common issues faced in the classroom such as managing student behavior and engaging students in learning.”
Additionally, students are responsible for the upkeep of a virtual journal about their experience using the Google Classroom platform. This resembles their sophomore program where sophomores go to freshmen classes and work with them. Mr. Peart stated, “The Teacher Assistants are able to give students grades and evaluate their skills as would a teacher.” Their program follows the Danielson Framework for Teaching concept in way in which these students grasp the essence of what it is to be a teacher because all teachers are observed by their assistant principals using the Danielson Framework. Senior Britney Wright, Foundations of Education member, said that their job is “to grade papers and help students finish their class work.” They are essentially “mini-teachers” and are able to provide for their select students.
With three to four teacher assistants per class, these classrooms are packed with interactions and learning from both the students the assistants. Foundations member Kevin Persaud said, “We learn the subject we are assisting because when you teach you learn.” This is the concept behind all the Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher Assistant programs, where students get a chance to relearn what they were educated their freshman year by catechizing younger students according to by Mr. Peart.
Maleeha Lodhi, who is on her way to pursuing a coveted career as a teacher, thinks that the program will help her understand how students work. Although only one-thirds of the assistants are interested in teaching, this program gives students skills that are needed for the pivotal roles they intend to pursue in life like public speaking, planning, collaboration, and accountability.
Senior Rahaeena Rahaman immediately signed up for the program when she heard that Hillcrest High School had a great teaching program. She was able to teach local middle schoolers and now freshmen in high school. Her favorite part of the program is “by far the help it has given me. It has improved my teaching, communication, and tolerance.”
Principal Morrison believes that this program is going to be a successful transition for future educators. “When I was a student in this school, I was in a similar program” which led to his love of teaching. He added that the program will give students “a glimpse and a great understanding of the skills needed to teach.”
Mr. Morrison believes that the program’s greatest success will arise when former Teacher of Tomorrow students come back and say that they fulfilled their goals in becoming teachers because of the SLC they were in. He will be looking for the impact the program makes in the student population which correlates with Ms. Alli’s hope for the program. She worked with what her students said they wanted from the SLC. She worked along with other members of the school and SLC and devised a program that will require the skills needed to be of a Teachers of Tomorrow student.
The feedback teachers running the program have been getting for this program have been positive. All parties involved with the Foundations of Education Senior Assistant program continue to work together to provide a base of skills needed for career readiness and the education system.