THS class gives students a look at teaching

By Ed Scherer-Berry

BOURBON — Triton Jr./Sr. High School is ramping up its dual credit college offerings this fall as it partners with several college-level institutions to give college credit for advanced high school courses. It gives students a head start on their college education while also reducing expenses.
One new class is the Education Professions I class taught by Triton Elementary School Title I Coordinator Susan Mullin. The class is sponsored by Ivy Tech and carries the same title and credits as if it were taken on an Ivy Tech campus.
Triton students pay no tuition fee for the class, thus reducing their eventual college bill by the amount of this semester class tuition.
Mullin is eminently qualified to teach the class. She holds a master’s degree in education, has been certified and trained by Ivy Tech, and has taught undergraduate and graduate-level classes at Indiana University South Bend.
The class uses the same syllabus, requirements, and testing as it would on the college campus. Triton students meet with Mullin at the elementary school for two periods every day for the school year. (At Ivy Tech, the class would be completed in one semester.)
As opposed to AP (Advanced Placement) classes which are also offered at Triton, dual credit courses are not dependent upon a final exam and college acceptance to receive college credit. Triton students completing the class with an acceptable grade are guaranteed that the class will be a part of their Ivy Tech transcript.
The course syllabus indicates that it is: “An introductory three-credit course which provides a general introduction to the field of teaching. Students will explore educational careers, teaching preparation, and professional expectations as well as requirements for teacher certification. Current trends and issues in education will be examined. A year-long supervised observational experience component is required for successful completion of this course. ”
One of the textbooks used in the course is “Smart Strengths: Building Character, Resilience, and Relationships in Youth” written in 2011 by John Yeager, Sherri Fisher, and David Shearon. Dr. Yeager is director of the Center for Character Excellence at Culver Academies. In the book, Yeager et al emphasized that building on student strengths is a more effective teaching method than criticizing weaknesses. Yeager introduced the students to the concept last Friday as he guest-lectured to members of the class, all of whom are seniors at Triton Sr. High School.
The students will spend four days a week, two periods a day, in various elementary classrooms. Every Friday, they will meet with Mullin separately for instruction and review of their observational experiences.
The course is divided into four nine-week grading periods. In period 1, students will rotate to all grades and levels of elementary education. Period 2 is characterized by more in-depth experiences in either primary or intermediate grades. In period 3, work will focus on the grade levels not covered in period 2. The final grading period will find students selecting a grade level or instructional area of their own choice, which could be anything from art, music, or physical education to reading intervention or working with academically gifted students.
By the end of the year, and well before college majors need to be declared, the Triton students will have been immersed in all aspects of the teaching profession, and will know whether they want to pursue this career field in college. The Education Professions I course is just one of several offerings designed to give Triton Sr. High students a head-start on their college education.