Emporia, Kan. — Reagan Linck didn't think he wanted to be a teacher. A course entitled Early Introduction to Teaching confirmed that feeling. He said he didn't think he could work effectively with students. He's now a pre-law student.
Nan Hanna planned to major in accounting in college. That was until she took the Early Introduction to Teaching course. She found she liked working with children, especially at the elementary level. She's now an elementary education major.
The fact that one student chose teaching as a career and one didn't isn't the point of this story. What is important is when these two students made their decision. Reagan and Nan took the course in their senior years at Emporia High School. Emporia State University offered the course.
The Early Introduction to Teaching course is one way in which Emporia State is trying to guarantee those students that do go into teaching know what they are committing themselves to.
This exploratory course accomplishes a number of goals.
First, it helps students make a wiser decision about teaching. Second, it helps students who choose teaching as a career to know exactly what they are getting into. Finally, it helps strengthen the university program since the students who continue after this course tend to have a stronger commitment to the profession.
Emporia State initiated the course as a pilot project in 1974 and has been offering the course to its students since then.In the past three semesters more than 45 high school students or college freshmen have taken the course for two hours of college credit.
Early Introduction to Teaching combines lectures by the instructors, presentations by guest speakers, classroom observation, and some actual teaching in microlabs. The guest speakers cover a variety of areas such as early childhood, elementary, secondary, learning disabled, etc.; new laws concerning mainstreaming and record-keeping by teachers; job opportunities; and salary.
The goal of the course is to help students make wise decisions about teaching as a career. The course designers took the position that they could not help students make such decisions if they started pulling punches. Both the good and the bad are covered so that students know exactly what teaching is all about by the time the course is over.