Students help community through teacher cadet program
November 16, 2016 By:Hunter Watson
By Tania Calderon
McNary is offering a way to get involved in the Keizer community through the school. The Teacher Cadet Program was brought to McNary through principal Erik Jespersen. He has seen the impact it can have on students. While working at McKay High School, students with interests in teaching spoke up with the idea of going and interacting with younger students and gaining experience. Through the help of the district and the students that spoke up–the program came to be years back. “It is an amazing experience,” Jespersen said. “It’s a great program and a great way for our students to give back.”
But the Teacher Cadet Program is not only meant for those who want to teach, but those who like to interact with others. It is a way to mentor kids and help them gain experience. Morgan Sigurdson, a senior at McNary, has had her own fair share of mentoring outside of class. “I love kids, it’s a good program if you want to go into teaching,” Sigurdson said. Many were chosen randomly to be in the class, but Sigurdson asked to be in it because she knew she would fit right in.
Marrla Wilkinson an English 12 teacher at McNary was chosen to be the coordinator of this class. “She’s a dynamic human being,” Sigurdson said. Both fourth and eighth period class only consist of about 20 students or less. “We are all good friends, so willing to listen, everyone is very caring and not afraid to ask question if help is needed,” Sigurdson said. The majority of students are seniors, but it is not necessary to be one to attend the class. Although they have not attended an elementary school just yet, they are preparing in class by discussing about what they will do as well as preparing learning games and projects to do with the younger students.
To be in the class and get the opportunity to mentor the elementary students at their school, a mandatory background check is required. Students cannot have a felony and if it’s a minor, they must explain the reasoning for it. It is protocol to keep all students safe. “There are elementary school principals calling and requesting to be part of the program,” Jespersen said. “These are the types of things that we want for our school. It’s a great experience, and a great way for students to give back.”