Senior learns teaching first hand

By: Amna Haider

Senior Paige Canfield has always liked the idea of becoming a teacher.

“I was really interested in teaching, and I wanted to know if it would be something I actually wanted to do,” she said.

After talking to a couple of people, she was recommended the cadet teaching class offered here at the high school.

Cadet teaching is a class in which students  get assigned to a classroom at either the elementary or junior high schools, and they get to spend the semester learning and observing what it is like to be a teacher as well as aiding the teachers with daily tasks.

“It’s a hand’s on experience that can help you see if teaching is something you would like to pursue in the future,” Canfield said.

Though she was eager to explore teaching, it wasn’t easy at for her when the moment came to step into a classroom.

“I think going into it, I was super nervous about interacting with children in a position of a teacher, but after the first day, it became a lot easier to talk to the kids,” she said.

Canfield began by helping the teacher with small tasks like sorting papers, paper clipping or stapling. As she got accustomed to the environment, she started helping out with questions, activities and grading papers.

“Sometimes there are games involved out in the hallway. The kids really love getting time out of the classroom, and the teacher appreciates getting some of the kids who either need extra help the help they need, or kids who are already excelling in a subject some time doing something more interesting,” Canfield said.

As the semester went on, she became more involved. “Right now, we have been working on mastering their basic facts in the hallway, so they have been taking timed tests with me lately. Another thing we have to do is plan and present a lesson in front of the class, so actually teaching the kids something,” she said.

Although she has had many happy moments during her time in this program, the one that stands out to her is less happy. There was an assembly being held in the memory of the music teacher at Cedar Heights who had passed away the summer before. “After the assembly, there were obviously some tears, but I was surprised by the newer student who had never had this teacher. He came up to me and started talking about how he never really knew the teacher, and I could tell he was starting to get choked up, so I put my arm around him and he just broke into tears. He remembered when his dog died and that made him really sad, so I had him tell me about his dog, and after a while he stopped crying. It is just nice to know that you can at least comfort one kid in their time of need. I just remember that moment so well because I was so unprepared with dealing with this situation, but when the time came, it all just fell into pieces, and I just treated him the way I would have wanted to be treated,” she said.

Cadet teaching has helped Canfield better understand her future career choice and has given her another reason to pursue teaching.

“I think it impacts me by actually getting to interact with the kids and see all their different personalities. Kids are actually quite funny and think they can get away with a lot of things. You also get to see a lot of the behind the scenes things that were always just there for you as a child being done by the teacher. I am always super excited to go and help. These kids always brighten my day, and I absolutely enjoy hearing the things these kids say. I hadn’t always wanted to be a teacher, but this program has helped me see that it is something I would love to do,” Canfield said.

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