Saturday, January 25, 2020
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Middle schoolers participate in future educators' club

As part of the Future Educators Association at Margaret Brent Middle School in St Mary’s County, Md., middle school students got to teach third graders at a nearby elementary school and learned that the best way to demonstrate a lesson is through its real-world effects, the Washington Post reports.

The Future Educators’ Association club meets during a start-up period in the morning and has given its members opportunities to experience some of the duties and responsibilities of being a teacher, like designing lesson plans and tests.

Club activities incorporate parts of the student service learning model, including planning, preparing, implementing, and reflecting, in ways that are appropriate given students’ ages and abilities.

Science teacher Hannah Mossman-Haas took over the group this year and told the Post she draws on her 27 years of teaching experience to mentor the group’s two dozen members.

“I wanted to inspire them as educators,” the Post quoted her as saying.

The idea of future educators

I had a high school teacher for French V who would let me teach a French III class a few times during the year. I thought it strange, but I had mastered the material they needed to learn, and teaching the class wasn’t much different from a group tutoring session. I knew what I had done to learn the material, and as far as I could tell, I was just supposed to lead the French III students along that same path to mastery.

A sense of power—an intangible feeling that stayed with me as I started my career—grew out of that experience, as I could see something I was doing actually helped students learn. Whether or not the eighth graders at Margaret Brent end up pursuing teaching as a career, this club still seems like a good idea.

It teaches empathy by letting 14-year-olds step into the shoes of someone else for a period of time. It teaches self-esteem by letting them know that they are not as invisible as the adult world sometimes makes them feel. And it teaches the value of knowledge, that what they learned in school can indeed be something useful in their lives, even if it only brings a smile to the face of a third-grade student for a moment, a third grader whose brain just “clicked” with understanding or mastery.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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