The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) designed its Teacher Cadet Program to encourage high school students with exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career. If CERRA had an end result in mind with the program, that product would probably closely resemble the career of Lisa Hall.
Hall took teacher cadet classes in high school, became a teacher and now serves as a teacher cadet instructor at Greenville Technical Charter High School. She is one of several teacher cadet instructors who have partnered with Clemson University to deliver the program in schools.
“I do what I do with everything inside of me; I love teaching,” Hall said. “I was asked to be a teacher cadet instructor, and I knew it would be a lot of work, but it was so exciting to have that opportunity. I knew what I liked in the program and how I could deliver it.”
She said the most successful students in the program are those who are willing to be open and discuss classroom hurdles and challenges honestly. Hall said the students who do that are quicker to experience the meta “light bulb moment” when they start to understand why teachers in current and past grades approached a lesson the way that they did.
Students receive college credit for their work. Those who complete two teacher cadet courses can enter Clemson with five credit hours and a head start in the field of education.
Leigh Martin serves as executive director for field and clinical partnerships and outreach, which allows her to work with teacher cadet instructors such as Hall. Martin doesn’t dictate the curriculum so much as she offers suggestions for what might be beneficial for those students who might transition to Clemson University after high school graduation.
Martin said the program not only gives students a realistic picture of what a career in education is like, but it also helps streamline the process for those students who end up at Clemson University.
“It’s a great initial taste for students of what teaching is really about; it’s helpful for students entering college, whether they end up pursuing a degree in education or not,” Martin said. “It is also a great way for our college to build relationships with partner districts and schools that benefit everyone in the long run.”
Clemson Corner is a bimonthly column on all things Clemson University. From individuals reaching new heights, research breakthroughs and discoveries, or events that can bring us all together, you’ll be able to learn more about the people who make Clemson, Greenville and South Carolina such a special place.