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Passionate millennials are inspired to teach

Kam King
December 04, 2014

Teaching academy gives high school students the Buckeye college experience

“Okay, this is my last question,” Mikayla Scott said, after raising her hand. “I swear.”

The classroom broke into laughter.

She couldn’t help it. She loved asking questions, especially when they were about a subject that she was particularly interested in. Like teaching.

The Gahanna High School junior was determined to get the most out of her visit to Ohio State’s Columbus campus on Tuesday, November 25.

“I couldn’t wait to learn what is needed for me to become a teacher,” she said. “I’ve wanted to teach since I was a little girl.”

Scott was joined by 16 of her classmates from the Teaching Professions career and technical education program at Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, housed at Gahanna High School’s Clark Hall, in the Columbus suburb.

Alumna Robyn Hilderbrand, ’97 Social Studies Education, ’00 MA School Administration, leads the teacher preparation program. She planned the Ohio State visit with Chris Zirkle, associate professor of workforce development and education. Zirkle serves as the Ohio State representative on Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools’ advisory board for the Teaching Professions program.

“This class allows students to make informed decisions about their career choices before they enter college,” Hilderbrand said. “Many of them have a focus, know their college major and earn college credit prior to starting college.”

Through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Education and Board of Regents, the four-year-old program saves students both time and money by offering three college credits that can transfer to public universities throughout Ohio.

High-achieving juniors and seniors attending Gahanna, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Liberty Union, and 12 other area school districts in southeast Franklin County and Fairfield County are given a jumpstart. From observing elementary, middle and high schools once a week to working in special needs classrooms, the students receive a well-rounded look into the teaching profession.

The class helped Dylanie Shaw, a junior at Pickerington High School, discover a passion for math and science.

“I have always thought that math was easy,” she said. “Now I know that I will enjoy teaching math and science to middle school students.”

At the academy, the high school students also heard from Cesar Seguil and Katie Watkins, academic advisors in Teaching and Learning. The duo explained the college’s undergraduate and graduate paths to licensure, the 11 licensure programs and the diverse components of a Bachelor’s degree.

Andrew Collins completed the Teaching Professions program before he started at Ohio State in the fall. The freshman, from Gahanna Lincoln High School, is an Early Childhood Education major. He hopes to return to the Gahanna-Jefferson school district as a kindergarten teacher after graduation.

“During my two years in the program, I learned about classroom management, ethics in the profession, child development, how to make a lesson plan and many other things that have helped me in my first year of college,” he said.

“The Teaching Professions program has really impacted me in a great way.”