The Teacher Cadet Program: Giving Students a Head Start for their Future

Summer Barrick and Hannah Chapman

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New to Arkansas High, the Teacher Cadet is a pre-college program offered to students interested in a teaching career. Through this program, students get to experience the curriculum of a college course, earning them concurrent credit. In addition to this, 4-6 weeks of spring are dedicated to students being a student teacher at the level of their choice (K-12). The journey before that though is a tedious, but crucial path.

The students first begin learning about development of all levels, K-12, as well as being introduced to all of the different learning styles. This prepares them to teach their  peers in the Teacher  Cadet classroom. After learning about developmental levels and various learning styles, the Teacher Cadets will take group trips to different schools to witness real time teaching at all levels. This gives the students the opportunity to figure out which level they would prefer teaching, taking another step towards their student teacher career in the spring.

“I am most looking forward to being able to job shadow other teachers to get a better feel of the teaching field.”

— Adison Wright

When the spring finally comes, each student will pick the level of the class they want and then will be paired with a chosen classroom. Students only spend their teacher cadet period doing this, but they all will have at least one full day dedicated to student teaching. This is not only a great experience to prepare students for their future, but it also gives them their one semester of unpaid teaching (a requirement student teachers have before they can become an actual teacher.) This is normally done during or after college, so they actually get a head start above most in the field. It also saves them from working unpaid for several weeks when they need it most.

“I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that’s interested in it[teaching] at all,” says Mr. Epley, the teacher of the class and program. And about his present students he adds, “I think, for a lot of them that are already interested in that area, they are going to be great because for one, it kind of gives them a bit of a head start from students that don’t get to be in this program. They know what to expect and know what they’re getting into a bit better.”  

“Ever since I was in Kindergarten, I have always wanted to be an elementary teacher. I love kids and I just like being around them.”

— Alexius Green

Present sophomores and juniors, think about the possibilities of the Teacher Cadet program and how it could benefit your next year and your future. The only two requirements of this program is to be in the 11th or 12th grade and to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, so many students are eligible. If you are interested for next year, there’s a commercial like ad for the class on Razorback TV in the spring. You’ll be able to sign up for the class just like you would any other class. It is definitely worth a look.