The Children’s Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has paid positions for UTC student workers. The center is adjacent to Brown Academy on the south side of campus, convenient for student workers between classes.
This on-campus childcare facility overseen by the UTC School of Education and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. The facility serves infants from six weeks old to children in kindergarten.
It is more than just a day care center, said Cindy Hornsby, Children’s Center lead coordinator.
“The teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree. It’s easy, we pay for it if you’re here. Then we have to have a curriculum and they do lesson plans each week, even in infants. We have lesson plans going.”
The center serves as a learning environment for student workers looking to understand more about teaching rather than simply babysitting. It has been affiliated with Brown Academy since 1979 and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children since 1987.
Free tuition at any public university in Tennessee is among fringe benefits of full-time employees of the center. Spouses or dependent children of full-time employees’ get a 50% tuition discount at Tennessee public universities.
Hornsby said those benefits were important when she “ended up with four kids who were in college at the same time.” Part-time employees receive a 50% public university tuition discount.
Undergraduate and graduate students whose academic programs require field work in education can receive field work credit for their paid work hours at the center.
UTC student workers can put in as many hours as they are able, and work scheduling is highly flexible, whether students choose to work full-time, part-time or a few hours now and then by being on-call.
Sophomore elementary education major Macaria Hudson is a busy student who knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. “Even in elementary school, I would line up my stuffed animals up and teach them lessons,” she said of her first stint as an educator.
As a Tyner Academy student, she was among the first cohort in the UTC Institute of Teaching and Learning, a program that gives high school students a head start on becoming educators.
“We got to learn how to create lesson plans, discovered different learning styles, and got to work with students at Bess T. Shepherd (a local elementary school),” Hudson said.
Because of her experience with the institute, Hudson said she already felt at home at UTC. Throughout high school, she took tours of UTC and got to know some of the faculty.
She was among three Tyner students offered a full scholarship through the Grow Your Own program, a collaboration between the UTC School of Education, Hamilton County Schools and the Tennessee Department of Education to develop more K-12 teachers in Tennessee.
Hornsby, Hudson’s boss at the Children’s Center, also is a Tyner alum.
Hudson said she loves working with children and feels responsible for serving as an example in her community: “I get to be a part of their life and hopefully make a positive impact. We need more black educators, and I want to be an example to students who look like me.”