Quinta-feira, 18/10/2018 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Junior Elizabeth Martens reflects on trimester completed in Teacher Academy

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During free time, Martens has the opportunity to play games with her students. She particularly enjoys playing Volleyball with some of the girls in her class. Photo by Courtney Pedersen

In early spring, Gull Lake middle school physical education teacher, Tim Wester received an e-mail from former student, Elizabeth Martens, inquiring whether she might work with him during the 2017-2018 school year through a program called the Teacher Academy.

The Teacher Academy, formerly known as Teacher Cadets, is an EFE (education for employment) open to all juniors and seniors attending school in Kalamazoo County, designed to provide students a chance to experience what a career in the education or training field may be like. According to Teacher Academy facilitator, Beckett Lockerbie, participants in the program attend a weekly class, during which they learn about the different aspects of teaching. The remaining four days are spent in the students’ selected internship classrooms.

Martens said she decided to apply for the Teacher Academy because she was interested to see if she might consider pursuing a career in education. Once accepted into the program, Martens was instructed to e-mail a teacher she would like to intern with.

Martens said that since her family moved to the district when she was in middle school, she didn’t know any of Gull Lake’s elementary teachers. It was in part because of her time as a student with Wester that she considered selecting him as her mentor for the Teacher Academy.

“I knew he would be really nice about it,” she said.

Martens also knew that if she were to go into education, she would probably teach P.E.,  so she said making the final decision to contact Wester was quite easy.  

Needless to say, Wester granted her request.

“I thought it was awesome,” Wester said. “I loved having a former student come back.”

In the classroom, Wester assigned Martens with a variety of tasks–from taking attendance to refereeing games

“It’s fantastic! They’re good kids, and they could teach this class. Sometimes they’re even better than the Western interns.” – Tim Wester, on working with Teacher Academy students

to teaching the rules of play. On occasion, he has even allowed Martens to take over and teach his class.

“I leave the class for a while, because she can handle it,” he said.

Over the course of the trimester Wester said he has witnessed Martens grow more and more comfortable as a leader.

“She’s developed wisdom through experience,” he said.

Wester has also enjoyed watching Martens work with his students.

“The kids love having her here,”  he said.

Martens said she loves interacting with the kids too. Because she doesn’t need to spend all of her time teaching the class, Martens said she has been able to get to know her students really well over the course of the trimester.

“It’s a lot of fun, to get to know the kids and the teacher that you’re interning with, and you actually do get a really good perspective on what it’s like to be a teacher,” Martens said.

Offering advice to students who might consider enrolling in the Teacher Academy, Martens said to “do what you think your teacher wants to do.” Photo by Courtney Pedersen.

However, she has also found it difficult to establish a line of authority between herself and her students.  Martens said that because she is only a few years older than the middle schoolers, she tends to receive a different level of respect.

“It’s hard, because I can’t be their friend, but they also know I’m not their teacher,” she said. Even so, Martens said she’s only encountered a few minor difficulties with her students.

Despite the challenges she has faced, Martens has appreciated her time as an intern. Though she has the option to switch teachers for her second semester in the program, she said she plans to spend the whole year with Wester.

“He’s really fun and makes it fun for me to be there,” Martens said.

Teaching with Wester has also sparked her interest in middle school education.

“I didn’t think I’d want to do that, but it’s not bad,” she said.

Students who enroll in the Teacher Academy for both their junior and their senior year are eligible to receive college credit at Central Michigan University. At the moment, Martens is unsure whether she will apply for her second year. Though she has gained valuable experience she said she would like to leave her senior year open so she can try something new.

Marleigh Thorn

My name is Marleigh Thorn. This is my third year on The Reflection staff, and I have the pleasure to be the Senior Editor. I have a passion for telling stories, and writing for our school newspaper allows me to do that. Being on The Reflection's staff has shown me how much I love sharing my words with others. I hope to continue reporting as I leave high school, and one day write for a major news agency.


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