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Teacher Education Faculty Brings High Schoolers to Campus for Future Educators Event

sarah hackett class

Faculty in SUNY Plattsburgh teacher education program gave local high school students a taste of what classes would be like during a Future North Country Educators event at Sibley Hall May 13.

Students from Keene Central School, Saranac, Saranac Lake and Chazy arrived for a full day of programing, including attending examples of class sessions for high school and elementary school sections, a “Day in the Life of a Teacher Education Student” panel with current SUNY Plattsburgh majors, a tour of campus and the chance to dine in Clinton Dining Hall among the general campus student body.

sarah hackett class exercise“New York state is experiencing a shortage of teachers, particularly in rural areas like the North Country,” said Dr. Michelle Bonati, assistant professor in the teacher education graduate program and one of the event organizers. “Superintendents are having a hard time filling positions. We’d like to help students in these areas consider education as a career path and see what it’s like to be a teacher education student.”

Dr. Denise Simard, dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services, welcomed the group of nearly 50 students, teachers and guidance counselors, encouraging them to talk to the students “who have walked this journey. You’ll get a good idea what it’s like,” Simard said. “We hope today you’ll see yourselves as a teacher.”

This spring event is the second one held this academic year. In the fall, teacher education faculty Bonati, Dr. Alison Puliatte, associate professor, and Dr. Emily Hoeh, assistant professor, brought in a group of students to campus as well.

exercise future nc teacher educators“We came up with the idea to help address the shortage not just in rural areas but high-poverty schools in the North Country,” Puliatte said. “We really hope to inspire a geographically and economically diverse group of high schooler students to pursue a career in teaching. And we hope they do that here at SUNY Plattsburgh.”

Sarah Hackett, a lecturer and program leader in the masters in teacher education program, led students who were interested in being high school teachers in exercises designed to build relationships with students that would prepare them for field experience.

Hackett had the students brainstorm a list of what young adults face in today’s world.

“When you come into a teacher education class, you have to be animated,” she told them. “You never mention a subject area first because meeting students’ needs is more important than the content we teach them.”

Squires was happy to see so many guidance counselors involved in the event, saying they were witnessing what is actually taught in a SUNY Plattsburgh teacher education class.

“Everything Sarah Hackett is teaching is best practice and actually what our own students do,” Squires said. Students interested in the birth to sixth grade education program were in a similar class learning about that program, she said.

The Future North Country Educators event “gives us the chance to see the students we may have in a year or two,” Squires said.

For more information on SUNY Plattsburgh’s teacher education program, contact Squires at 518-564-5134 or email [email protected].

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