After internships, Richards students want to teach
July 12, 2012 1:12PM
Richards High School students who completed the teacher intern program included (front row, from left) Kristen Nazorek, Liza Hawrysio, Victoria Ruge, Nicole Ellement, Jessica Putnam and (back row) Kaylee Coffey, Joe Tenerelli and John Zahlmann. | Supplied Photo
Updated: August 16, 2012 6:06AM
Like many vocational opportunities at Richards High School, the teaching internship course operates on the simplest of principles: Allow students to experience a profession so they can see if that career path suits them.
Now in its fourth year, the program pairs Richards students with cooperating teachers at local elementary and middle schools. The teenagers observed teachers at work, helped them with certain tasks, and even worked one-to-one with younger children four days per week.
Naturally, working with professionals in a real work environment helped the Richards students clarify their career plans.
“It helped to observe from a more outside perspective,” said student John Zahlmann. “Now I feel like I’d want to be a teacher because seeing a student understand something is so rewarding.”
“I’ve always had interest in a career in education, but the teaching internship allowed me to get a real teaching experience before I went to college,” student Jessica Putnam said.
For others, the experience confirmed their desire to teach.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, so this class gave me the experience to show I was right,” student Joseph Tenerelli said.
Some of the Richards seniors almost sounded sorry that the school year ended.
“Although it is kind of sad, when my students found out when my last day would be, they all got really sad,” Putnam said. “I’m going to miss all of them, so it was sweet to see that they’ll miss me, too.”
“My favorite moment was when a student came up to me and asked if I’m going to their eighth grade graduation,” Tenerelli said.
Aside from helping with career decisions and enjoying the interaction with younger students, the Richards seniors all emphasized a common theme: They noticed that teachers work hard.
“I learned that the work that goes into teaching is a lot, but it is worth it because of the huge impact they have on students,” said student Kristen Nazorek, who won a Golden Apple Scholar award this year to help finance her college education.
“Lessons need to run on time, but one must have a few back-up plans in case they end early,” Zahlmann said. “A teacher has to be almost over-prepared.”
Every intern said they would recommend the program to a friend considering a career in education.
“It shows you a side of teaching that no one really knows about, and that’s all the planning,” student Victoria Ruge said.
Richards students served their internships at Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School, Ridge Central School, Finley Junior High School and St. Gerald School.
Provided to the SouthtownStar