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Exploring Careers in Education at Teacher Scholars Summer Institute

This article and photo originally appeared on the Engage TU-Towson University blog and are reprinted with permission.

The Towson Univerity (TU) Teacher Scholars Summer Institute premiered this summer (July 15–18) in an effort to recruit high school students into teaching. This was also an effort to work more closely with our Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) program.

One of our main goals was to assist in recruiting more underrepresented students into the field of education, which is predominantly composed of white females across the nation. Conversely, about half of K–12 students are from diverse backgrounds and/or are male.  We are also facing a critical shortage of teachers in the U.S., and Maryland is facing the same issues. In fact, all 24 counties in Maryland are experiencing a shortage of teachers based on the last Maryland State Department of Education Staffing Report.  In addition, enrollments at TU and across the nation have been declining in education programs. Therefore, we were piloting this program to help create a pipeline of more teachers, as well as more diversity among teachers.

Exploring Careers in Education

Each day students came from five schools from Baltimore County Public Schools:

  1. Eastern Technical High School
  2. Catonsville High School
  3. Parkville High School
  4. Pikesville High School
  5. Loch Raven High School

As part of the program, students participated in a 1-credit dual enrollment course entitled Careers in Education, which was taught by Hannah Cawley. 

This interactive course was designed for students interested in teaching. One of the main goals was to dispel myths and expose students to the realities of professional educators. Students also explored careers in fields of education both short term and long term.

Highlights of the program included a visit to the College of Education’s new makerspace (AKA the Sandbox) with a presentation by Debbie Fuller and a teaching demonstration of the SIMteach, where student avatars interacted with the future teachers in real time. 

Students also had an opportunity to interact with a group of four year olds at the TU University Child Care Center, working on a unit called “Things that Go.” While at the center, they analyzed characteristics of a high quality early childhood program. The visit was quite lively as Tim Tooten from WBAL came and broadcasted about the institute for his Education Alert. He also posted on Facebook and Twitter about the program. Furthermore, BCPS TV visited and provided a news blast for Baltimore County educators.

The high school students also visited Cook Library for a tour and a literacy related presentation by Miriam DeHarnais. In addition, they

  • Asked questions about teaching to a panel of TAM teachers,
  • Observed a class, ELED 320 Writing for Elementary Education,
  • Had guest speakers Jack Cole and Olivia Cawley talk about the myths and realities of teaching,
  • Participated in an interactive presentation about the benefits of teaching with Assistant Dean Gilda Martinez-Alba,
  • Visited the Center for Student Diversity to learn about the various programming and student groups available, and
  • Were connected with a mentor (students from the Educators Rising group).

The mentors will be communicating with the high school students over the next year to provide support, help guide them into college, and answer any questions about the TU College of Education. 

Thanks to the generosity of BTU—Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, students received breakfast and lunch, which all students agreed on a satisfaction survey at the end of the program that they indeed enjoyed. It helped provide them the energy needed to walk throughout our campus in the summer heat to the various locations where the activities took place. Moreover, Baltimore County Public Schools provided the transportation, picking up and dropping off students at their schools. 

Students even mentioned their parents or grandparents had come to TU; and, they were hopeful they could come as well. This student brought in a picture of her grandmother’s TU yearbook picture.

This particular student brought in a picture of her grandmother’s TU yearbook picture.

On the last day parents and caregivers were invited back at the end of the day to learn about

  • Why choose a career in education?
  • Why choose TU?
  • TU application process
  • Financial Aid
  • Teaching in Baltimore County
  • Highlights from the TU Teacher Scholars Summer Institute program

We hope to expand the program to another county in summer of 2020.

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