‘Grow-Your-Own’ Efforts Continue at University of Central Florida
Now in its third year, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Consortium for Future Educators is growing by leaps and bounds! On November 1, 2019, UCF hosted the third convening of the Consortium for Future Educators, including 16 Districts of Education in Florida, and over 80 participants. District leaders, lead teachers, high school students, and university faculty who partner with them came together to share knowledge and best practices as it relates to the creation, growth, and results of High School Teaching Academies and “grow-your-own” pathways.
Several districts shared their unique “grow-your-own” pathway models for participants. After hearing from lead teachers and high school students enrolled in these innovative programs, participants engaged in a panel discussion with all presenters. While each district model is unique in implementation, all programs put authentic teaching experiences at the heart of their coursework. Students enrolled in these pathway programs engage in over 50 hours of clinical practice per year that are directly embedded into their high school course work.
Building a pathway for future teachers also involves bringing the high school and college students together for collaborative events and mentoring. The Tavares High School Teaching Academy students from Lake County Schools recently met at the UCF Connect South Lake Center in Clermont to celebrate International Dot Day, a recognition of the works of children’s author Peter H. Reynolds. Thirty-five UCF students worked with 17 Teaching Academy students through 6 educational stations that reinforced the methods they’ll use one day to teach children to read. It’s this type of hands-on, practical experience that will fuel their success when theory becomes reality in their own classrooms. It all adds up to Tavares Teaching Academy graduates who are better prepared to succeed in college—and in leading a classroom after they graduate from UCF and become certified by the state.
Regardless of the approach, all successful grow-your-own programs give young people a chance to take teaching for a test drive. Lived experience is the most valuable clay for molding a person’s identity as a committed future educator—and the strongest armor against the discouragement they inevitably will face in the profession (Brown, 2018).
UCF’s Consortium for Future Educators continues to “connect the dots” on unique pathways for future educators as a part of the Consortium. In this way, UCF is collectively “making our mark” in education by establishing a model as the hub for school districts as they grow their teaching academies.
Dean Pamela “Sissi” Carroll reflected on the experience stating, “This is an innovation that can revive the teaching profession … it is powerful in that it shows the positive side of teaching, uses experience as its base, and allows such great interaction across university, college, school faculty, and students”.
Learn more about how UCF is Growing Teachers for the Community