Matt Eubanks, a rising senior at Fulton High in Knoxville, Tennessee, says his high school English and health science teachers inspired him to teach. “They loved every student that walked through their doors, and for that, I want to give back to my students,” he said.
Eubanks is one of 26 students chosen to participate in Tennessee’s Governor’s School for Prospective Teachers. Funded by the Tennessee Department of Education, this program is a joint effort between Continuing Education and the Teacher Preparation Academy located on UTC’s campus. Students participating in the program are the state’s brightest rising juniors and seniors, and were recommended by teachers and guidance counselors in an effort to encourage them to pursue careers in education.
Dr. Kim O’Kelley-Wingate serves as director of the program, one of several Governor’s Schools across the state. During the five week program, the students get a head start on college life by living on campus and taking two freshman-level courses for six hours of college credits. Students get a real-life view into the education profession by tackling teaching myths and realities, exploring different learning and teaching styles, and participating in peer teaching activities.
“I really like the program, mainly because of the hands-on experience,” Eubanks said. “You get real-life experience and textbook knowledge.”
During the fourth week, the students create lesson plans that prepare them to teach a class of students in Youth University at UTC, a summer enrichment program for young children.
Aaron Browning, a rising senior at Blackman High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said Governor’s School is highly effective.
“Some people only imagine being a teacher,” he said. “This program made me aware of all the things actually involved in teaching, and really gave me a good perspective before diving into the profession in college.”
Brown also enjoys that he has been introduced to 25 other exceptional students chosen above100 other applicants who share his passion for education.
Coordinators for the program include Dr. Beth Dodd, Director of Continuing Education; Carl Raus, Field Placement Coordinator for Teacher Preparation Academy; and education graduate students who serve as mentors to the high school students.
Several prominent figures in the Chattanooga community were invited to come and speak to the Governor’s School students and share advice. The students also visited local tourist attractions, such as the Tennessee Aquarium, Children’s Creative Discovery Museum, and Lookouts games.
Eubanks experience taught him a lot about the teaching profession and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he said he is very interested in studying Education. “It’s my first choice,” he said.
—By Tia Tappan, UTC intern