The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be a Teacher

Part I: The Future of Education — Students who are choosing a career path in teaching
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Photo by Carlo Costigliola
Ms. Perez, CTE Program Instructor for “Teaching as a Profession” and advisor for the “Take a Look at Teaching” club, contends that the goal of an educator is to “give a spirit to learning,” a process that her students begin to learn in her classroom as a part of her CTE program.

In the last five years, Patchogue-Medford has been a district of unprecedented innovation.

There has been the establishment of Career and Technical Education, or CTE, programs at the high school in 2019, where students are offered the opportunity to participate in work-based, hands-on learning experiences, and a shift this year to digital hallway SmartPasses. The Raiders have strived to change with the times, aiming to better the educational experiences of students schoolwide in the process. 

Much of this innovative approach is in response to issues on Long Island and across New York State, with one such example being the recent creation of a new CTE class in Pat-Med in 2021, “Teaching as a Profession.” 

This class, where students can study early childhood development and education to prepare for career paths in the educational field, aims to generate more educators to enter a job market that, in a few years, will be in high demand for teachers.  

Within the next five years alone, 34% of active NYS teachers could retire, and since 2010, enrollment in teacher’s education programs statewide has declined by 50.4%, creating a frightening problem for the future of educators in the state (U.S. Department of Education). 

“Because of the impending shortages in teachers in New York with enrollment way down [in teaching programs] and retirement way up, there is going to be up to 100,000 jobs that will be coming out within the next ten years,” explained Ms. Perez, the high school’s CTE Program Instructor for “Teaching as a Profession.” 

“With this in mind, we want to, through this program, give students the opportunity to experience careers in the learning environment, promote their interests in the educational field, create an educational ambience that is inclusive to all who want to pursue a career in education, and prompt these students to obtain certifications that allow them to earn jobs in an educational career path.” 

As a part of the “Teaching as a Profession” CTE Program, students experience the educational environment through in-district field trips, travelling to elementary schools to help teachers and engage with elementary students. 

“As of now, my students have had at least twenty visits to three different elementary schools engaging with different students in different grade levels, helping various teachers, music and physical education teachers, so they can be exposed to different things within the field,” said Perez.  

Some of these students, Pat-Med Seniors Susan Dominici, Jaidyn Allen, and Elajah Koso, feel the program has acted as a bridge between aspirations and reality, preparing them for future careers in the field of education. 

“I always had a passion for helping little kids and knew that I wanted to be a teacher,” commented Dominici. “So, when my guidance counselor told me about ‘Teaching as a Profession,’ I was intrigued and thought it would help me get a leg up in my journey to being an educator, which ended up being true because of all the hands-on learning experiences and field trips that we go on.” 

For her takeaways from the program, Allen feels that the interactive aspects of the class have not only made her “feel more comfortable with kids, but also with teachers,” building her confidence when it comes to talking to both children and professionals. 

She remarked, “One of the coolest things about this program is that we can see how teaching works through a different lens, not just as the student, but as the educator, talking with other teachers to decide what is best for the kids. This type of communication has really helped me.” 

Koso also added, “Going to the elementary schools and working closely with the students has indefinitely improved my communication skills and ability to fight my nerves, and I am thankful that this class has allowed me to take steps to working in the teaching field.” 

As for each of the students’ prospective jobs within the educational field, Dominici wishes to be an elementary school and special education teacher, Allen an elementary school teacher, and Koso a school psychologist in middle or high school. 

In addition to the “Teaching as a Profession” CTE Program at the high school, Ms. Perez is also the advisor of the “Take a Look at Teaching” club, a group that allows for members to volunteer at elementary schools, gaining community service hours by teaching lessons to students as well as creating projects for Teacher Appreciation Week. 

Senior Ryan Seevers, a member of this club, asserts, “By working in real time with students, I’ve attained a good idea of the types of environments and interactions I may be having in my future as an educator.” 

He then continued, saying that “unlike any other club, there are a lot of different groups that get free time with students, helping to keep the pace of lessons and understand any questions that a student may have through collaboration.” 

Planning to enter a career in music education, Seevers is excited to continue with the “Take a Look at Teaching” club to further his preparation for teaching endeavors beyond high school. 

“I think the goals of an educator are to make students feel welcome in their environment and teach them skills they will use in the future, so I can’t wait to keep doing that as a part of this club.” 

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About the Contributor
Carlo Costigliola, Staff Writer
Class of 2024. Co-Editor. Loves music, science, and pasta. Fears spiders and pineapple on pizza. Pretends Interstellar really happened.

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