Planning to be a teacher, Emory Morgan attended this summer’s Governor’s School at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Twenty-seven years ago, her dad, Dave, was thinking the same thing and did the same thing.
Wanting to teach high school “for my entire life,” Emory said the recently completed Governor’s School
“A lot of the activities that we’ve done helped me make more informed decisions about what I would like specifically in my classroom.”
Dave, who attended the school in 1994, didn’t go teaching but said what he learned in Governor’s School “taught me a lot of skills that make me better at what I now do.”
The mission of the Governor’s School is to provide information and advice to junior and senior high school students from across Tennessee who are considering a career in teaching.
“Maybe they come away thinking, ‘This is exactly where I need to be’ or ‘Maybe I need to step back and figure this out,’” said Valerie Rutledge, dean of the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. “I’m fine with either one.”
Emory, who’ll be a senior this fall at Harpeth Hall, an all-girls private school in Nashville, said Governor’s School “helped me make more informed decisions about what I would like specifically in my classroom. We learned a lot about philosophies of education and how you can take different approaches to classrooms.”
After attending the four-week program and passing its Education 2010 course, students earn college credits that are accepted at most colleges and universities in the United States.
Instructors during Governor’s School are always teachers in the Hamilton County school system, so they can discuss all aspects of the career. Good and bad.
“We want to make sure they have that opportunity to engage with a teacher in the classroom. That really gives them an opportunity to dive into the history of what it is to be a teacher,” said Kim Wingate, director of Governor’s School and professor in the School of Education at UTC.
Getting into Governor’s School is not just a matter of signing up, Wingate explained. With a class of about 26 per year, students are vetted carefully and must show that they’re among the highest achievers in their school, Wingate said.
“Our average GPA is a 3.9, 3.8, from these students. They’re very driven when it comes to their academics.”
Governor’s School students stay in UTC housing while on campus, eat in the dining hall and take their course in a classroom, making the week a chance to highlight the university, perhaps enticing the students to enroll.
“They are learning about college. What is it like to live in a dorm? What is the food like? Understanding and managing their time. We have study halls for them but, at the same time, they have to learn how to manage that as well,” Wingate said.
“We’re trying to help them get a little bit of exposure of what college would be like, regardless of where they go,” she added.
They’re also learning real-world—and sometimes distressing—lessons on what teaching can be like day-to-day.
“I don’t want to say horror stories,” Emory said. “I heard about a lot of things that happened in an elementary school setting and just kids being a little bit harder to control. So that helps me solidify the idea that I do want to teach high school.”
As a rising sophomore at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Emory’s dad, Dave Morgan, attended the UTC Governor’s School in 1994. Considering a career in education, “I was exploring what that might be like,” he said.
He came away with the decision not to pursue teaching and now is vice president of contract solutions with OMNIA Partners in Nashville, which acts as a purchasing negotiator when public and private companies are buying supplies from other businesses. But what he learned in Governor’s School is applicable to his current job, he said.
“I take new employees and, over their first year, make them more productive and more efficient more quickly.
Governor’s School delivers lessons “for teaching in a lot of different realms,” he said. “It’s all about communication.”