Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teacher Cadet at Cotton Creek Elementary with Joan Knapp

The Teacher Cadet (TC) program through Adams12 Five Star Schools is excellent.  This year I was happy to learn that I would have a TC for the second time in my career with Adams 12!  It had been several years since my last TC, and I was really happy to be part of this program again.
     I met my TC in a professional interview-like setting.  She was prepared with a calendar of the dates she would be in my kindergarten classroom.  Her duties and responsibilities were outlined clearly.  She asked in-depth questions about my classroom routines, students, and school culture.
     My TC instantly bonded with the 28 students in my PM kindergarten class.  She was immediately proactive and intuitive, and it quickly became apparent how deeply she cared for each one.
     Throughout her time in the classroom, my TC showed great potential as a future educator.  She took time to learn a bit about each student's educational history and family, she noticed both positive and negative relationships between students in the classroom and worked to provide support to continue to develop the positive ones and to problem solve the negative ones.
     I was most impressed with my TC's knowledge of technology.  She used the classroom iPad to create lesson plans, keep anecdotal notes on student progress, and supplement lessons with miscellaneous apps.  When I made suggestions for instructing a particular small group, she immediately searched for an appropriate technological component.  She was careful to preview any app., photo, or internet site before introducing it to the kindergartners.  She taught me many more uses for the iPad as well!
     This TC spent far more time in my classroom than her required minimum hours.  She stayed for some grade-level meetings and a school-wide professional development meeting.  She was able to use her knowledge of Standards-Based Grading (done in her high school currently) and apply it to the new setting in the elementary school-giving me insight from a student perspective.  She attended an evening performance to support the class outside of school hours.
     One morning, my TC took the initiative to come to school during my AM kindergarten class time.  She was quite interested in comparing class culture, and immediately noticed many of the nuances that made the two classes so different!
     I highly recommend the Teacher Cadet program to any teacher who needs some extra support in the classroom.  The students are well prepared by instructor Sue Less to become future educators.  They transition to college educator-formation programs with so much background knowledge and practical experience.  I look forward to another year with a TC! 

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