The St. Tammany Parish School System offers high school students interested in becoming a teacher the opportunity to learn about the teaching profession through the “Students Teaching and Reaching” (STAR) program. On November 5, 2015, these students attended the STAR Teaching Academy conference at the David C. Treen Technology Center. The theme for the conference was “Teaching: An Inspirational Career Choice”.
In the morning, the students attended sessions focusing on student engagement, classroom management, digital footprints, and inspirational mornings. I had the opportunity to observe a second grade teacher demonstrating how she uses a cup passing game to get her students focused and motivated in the morning. I loved how she mentioned beat, rhythm, and team work in her activity.
When all of the groups returned to the gym, a video that had been made by students from Slidell High School was shown. In the video, it listed the reasons why someone should become a teacher. Next, three students from Northshore High School spoke about the lessons they learned while serving as teaching interns. Later, we watched another video created by Slidell High School. This one featured teacher interviews sharing the characteristics of a great teacher.
I had the honor of speaking to the aspiring teachers following their lunch. Although the purpose of my speech was to inspire, there was a special surprise for me. I was introduced to the audience by a former student from Woodlake Elementary School. After her sweet introduction, I spoke about the reasons I had been inspired to become a teacher. I also shared how my teaching has progressed over the years. In the end, I gave the students my four tips for their future teaching experiences:
- Look for connections between the subject matters
- Be a life-long learner
- Be open and step outside of your comfort zone
- Keep a journal celebrating your daily achievements
While driving back to my school, I marveled at the knowledge these students are gaining through the STAR program. Without a doubt, these are future teachers and leaders that will twinkle “like a diamond in the sky”.