'Discovery Trip' teaches college students about life as a teacher

Posted May 20, 2011

— Aspiring teachers at North Carolina colleges spent a week touring public schools across the state, getting a firsthand look at their future careers.

Meredith College student Kayla Smith's decision to be a teacher has never been in doubt.

"I don't remember choosing to be a teacher. I just always knew I'm going to be a teacher," Smith said.

Visiting working teachers and their classes, though, gave her the chance "to really see where our are students are going to be coming from, the environment they have, how they're shaped and molded, and what we have to do to cater to those students," Smith said.

The Discovery Trip packed rising sophomores from 16 colleges and universities onto 11 school buses and sent them on visits to multiple public schools. 

"It's really eye-opening," East Carolina University student Cole Merricks said. "It really broadens your horizons to see what's actually going on in North Carolina."

Future teachers tour schools Future teachers tour schools

Bus No. 6 began its road trip in Vance County, then motored to rural Jones County, with a population of 10,000, then to East Hoke Middle School in Hoke County and finally to Caldwell County in the foothills. In addition to schools, students toured local industries, such as the Burlington Industries plant in Hoke County.

Each school system tried to put its best foot forward.

"Our goal is, when they graduate in three years, we hope they will come back to Hoke County Schools and teach, because we deserve quality teachers in the classroom," said Patricia Hollinsworth, a spokeswoman for Hoke County Schools.

These future students are also confronting a career in school systems grappling with budget cuts.

"It bothers me right now because of how its affecting the school systems, but hopefully, by the time I'm looking for a job, everything will be better," said Shanae Anderson, a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As part of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows scholarship program, the students have agreed to teach at North Carolina public schools for at least four years after graduation.

Ultimately, the college students said, their goal is to help children succeed in the classroom.

Smith said she wants to give them "the right model," just as her teachers gave her.


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  • geosol May 20, 2011

    Thank the Good Lord for these wonderful people who dedicate their lives to improving those of our young ones! There is no more noble profession than giving back to make the world a better place for the next generation! Teachers are the best of the best!!!!! Thank you for your dedication!!!

  • Sherlock May 20, 2011

    Why become a teacher, these individuals are losing their jobs left and right. Being a teacher in this state is a joke and not worht the time or money spent to get the education. What gets me is that teh school system will let teacher go then turn around a put an ad in the paper for teacher. Just keep what you have.

  • teacher56 May 20, 2011

    These programs are wonderful IF the person truly has the passion to teach! All college teacher ed programs should REQUIRE 1 year as a TA before they enter the college program. Teaching is not what it seems and then these students can go ahead with their eyes open!

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah May 20, 2011

    Now let a few teachers show you the real life!!
    After that will in no way have even a clue.

  • issymayake May 20, 2011

    When I was a teaching fellow back in 19XX we went west to the western North Carolina, where I had the pleasure of meeting people who had never met a black person. We traveled to Swain county out in the mountains. It was eye-opening, and I had a great TIME. It is a good experience for the aspiring teachers to learn about their state!

  • Mo Blues May 20, 2011

    Why don't you ever see these programs to help kids become good accountants or plumbers? The one career kids in school are all exposed to are teachers.