MOUNT VERNON — For the first time ever, the Ohio Department of Education has allowed the attendance of high school students in approved professional development seminars. Students in the early childhood education program at the Knox County Career Center joined area preschool teachers and teacher assistants in a four-session series of classes detailing the preschool literacy core curriculum and received 15 hours of ODE credit for their efforts.
Erin Jackson, the ODE-affiliated instructor, said having high school students in the class was a learning curve for her.
“All of the course content in the past has been addressed to teachers who have been in the field for a while,” she explained. “I’ve had to adapt some of the content so it’s more practical for high school kids. That’s been a learning curve for me, but it is interesting to hear their perspective as novice teachers. It’s interesting to see the career center students take on the activities that they are implementing. They haven’t been in the field for a long time like the other participants. It’s all new to them and it’s interesting to hear what they think.”
Katelyn Tanner, KCCC student, said she liked the workshops.
“They’re teaching us a lot more than just the regular classroom,” she said. “They are more involved. It makes us feel we’re accepted and really learning what we need because we’re actually involved in something like this. It’s better taking a class with someone already working in the field. They give us a better understanding of what it is going to be like when we are there [in the field]. They already know — they’ve been there.”
Nicole Dziengelewski, East Knox Elementary preschool teacher, said it was a little different having high school students in a professional development class.
“They [the students] haven’t already been exposed to the content, but it wasn’t a negative thing having them. I think it’s good for them to have the opportunity to be able at this level, to be exposed to what they’re looking forward to if they would continue to go into this profession.”