FTA shadows teachers at Pelham Ridge Elementary

Published 2:17 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – High school students interested in pursuing careers in education had the chance to experience teaching a class on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Pelham Ridge Elementary.

“Our teachers set the lesson plan, but they turned the day over to the Future Teachers and gave them the chance to create activities to go with it,” said Pelham Ridge Elementary School Principal Lisa Baxter. “They taught a lesson for a class and had a chance to see what it’s really like to be a teacher.”

Future Teachers of Alabama is an organization of middle and high school students who are interested in exploring education as a career.  FTA has branches all over Alabama, but the one that visited Pelham Ridge was made up of Pelham High School students in PHS’s education career prep program. 

“FTA is a career prep student organization that goes hand in hand with the education program,” said Shauna Stewart, Pelham High’s education and training teacher. “The club is a co-curricular component of the education training program.”

While not all members of PHS’ education program are members of FTA, most are, with Stewart estimating that 90 percent of her students are also FTA members. Stewart and Baxter both note that the club offers students the chance to more directly experience what it’s like to be a teacher in the classroom, and how it gives them the chance to see what it is like being a teacher.

“I think it’s a fabulous way for students to get their foot into the door before they’ve committed to a career,” Baxter said. “This is a way to get kids involved in education and push them in the right direction.”

While this is the first time FTA students have had the chance to shadow and teach lessons at Pelham Ridge, by all accounts the experience was a success and there are already plans to do it again in the future.

“It warms my heart to hear the wonderful stories my students have shared with me about their experience at Pelham Ridge Elementary,” Stewart said. “They cannot stop talking about how much they enjoyed it. Several of the members who were unsure about pursuing a career in the field of education have since decided that it is definitely the right career path for them.”