7 February, 2023
A once quiet room slowly fills with smiling students who are eager to learn. They pull out their notes from the night before and quietly chat as they wait to discuss different teaching strategies. The Teachers Academy of Maryland (TAM) is a dual enrollment program offered in Howard County that prepares students for working with children and or students in the future. The program was “developed collaboratively among local school systems, community colleges, four-year institutions, and representatives from the University System of Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the Maryland State Department of Education” according to Centennial High School’s website.
Mrs. Stephanie Johnson-Rolle has been teaching the program for two years. She was formerly a computer science teacher, but now enjoys the exhilarating day-to-day teaching of future educators.
Mrs. Johnson-Rolle is also the sponsor of the Educators Rising club which allows students to gain valuable teaching skills and service hours outside the Academy. This is a great opportunity for those who are interested in teaching, but don’t have room in their schedule, or students who are interested in earning meaningful service hours. From making flyers, to door-to-door presentations, Mrs. Johnson-Rolle is determined to help the club grow
Ava Alvarez, the President of Educators Rising, and a veteran to the TAM programs, comments on how the classes are “…for anyone! There are three different classes within the academy meaning that there’s something for everyone to take. Plus, Ms. Johnson Rolle is amazing and all the students act as though we are one big family.”
Both Ms. Johnson Rolle and Alvarez believe that there isn’t much that needs to be changed within the program, but the shrinking number of students enrolled does affect the quality of the program. Mrs. Johnson-Rolle stated that, “When I came in the numbers were not as high as they needed to be last year. This year they aren’t as high as well, so recruitment is definitely a major concern.” Mrs. Johnson also commented on how there is a severe “…lack of future male educators.” She wants to help any male students at Atholton who have an interest in teaching feel comfortable to join the program, since education is a mostly female-dominated career path with 77% of teacher being female.
Even with a lack of male students in the program, those that are a part of it such as Ian Martinson comment on how, “I feel supported in the program by Mrs. Johnson-Rolle and my fellow classmates.” Mrs. Johnson-Rolle encourages any male students who have an interest in teaching to give the class a shot. She believes it is important to have more male educators in the program to help build a stronger community.
TAM is not only just for students who are interested in becoming teachers. If students are interested in careers that involve social work with children, child psychology, pediatric work or coaching, TAM can help students be more prepared to enter into those careers.
There are three main classes within the program. One of the starter classes is Human Growth and Development GT. This class, like all of them, is offered to grades 10-12 and provides an education on the human body from “womb to tomb.” As Mrs. Johnson said. This class is highly recommended for those who are interested in any career in the future involving children or service work because it’s extremely important to know developmentally where a child is in life when you are constantly helping them. It also gives important information to help students be more prepared for a future career with children.
Teaching as a Profession GT goes into the history of teaching and its many philosophies. It is also under the Howard County Community College (HCC) dual enrollment program. This class is recommended for those who have an interest in teaching but may not be sure if it’s something they want to pursue. The class provides students with teaching experience and creating lesson plans that mimic what real teachers do everyday. The class helps those integrated in teaching self reflect on why they want to teach and how they can be the best teacher for their future students.
The final official class offered is Foundations of Curriculum. This class is also offered as an HCC dual enrollment course. It further prepares students for planning a year’s worth of classes and how to successfully teach students. This program acts as a building block for students before they go into the education field . First students learn how a human develops, then they learn why you want to teach, and then you learn how to effectively teach a class. This class also provides many opportunities to practice teaching to fellow peers.
Upon completion of Human Growth and Development GT and Foundations of Curriculum you earn a teaching certificate that can help you acquire jobs and internships outside of the classroom that involve teaching. Howard County also offers an internship program for those interested in teaching. It is considered to be part of the Academy but isn’t an official class since it’s part of the internship program. This internship will allow students to pick a school of your choice in Howard County at any level and work alongside a teacher of your choosing in the subject you’re interested in. It helps students get on the other side of the classroom providing valuable real world teaching experience.
The Teachers Academy of Maryland has been around for years and has helped thousands of students who are interested in teaching find out if it’s something they are interested in. From real world experience in the teaching field, to a close-knit community in the classroom, the Teachers Academy of Maryland is an amazing opportunity for all students interested in working with children in the future.