by Claire Miller
Falilah Ibidapo came to the College of Education’s Academy for Future Teachers (AFT) summer program hoping to learn more about teaching middle school students.
By the time she completed the three-week program, Ibidapo had the chance to work with students from the After-School All-Stars Atlanta program and the COE’s Capitol Hill Child Enrichment Center on their math and science skills and gain a better understanding of the work teachers put into their lessons.
“Teaching is such a privilege,” she said. “Students are like sponges – they absorb so much of what you teach them.”
AFT invites rising high school juniors and seniors to Georgia State University each summer to discuss education, communication styles and professional development, as well as learn ways to teach math and science for elementary, middle and high school students.
About 60 students from the metro-Atlanta area attended the program this year and participated in a number of hands-on teaching and learning experiences, some of which they demonstrated during the closing celebration on June 24.
Students had the audience clapping along to the rap they created about solving algebraic equations and their remastering of the popular song “Tik Tok” to teach students how to tell time.
In addition to showing off their musical skills, students also presented videos and pictures of their lessons and discussed the personal and professional goals they want to accomplish in the coming years.
Chesley McNeil, meteorologist for WXIA-TV in Atlanta and guest speaker at the closing celebration, was impressed at the students’ detailed plans for their future careers and encouraged them to take teaching seriously.
“The first time I stood in front of a group of college kids to teach, it clicked,” he said. “I recalled how I was influenced by my teachers, how they took the time to work with me and had pride in their classrooms. If I wasn’t a meteorologist, I would be teaching. To me, there’s no greater form of instant gratification than seeing a student’s eyes light up when they understand something.”
Laurie Forstner, AFT program coordinator, hopes that students leave the program with a new appreciation for educators and renewed visions for themselves.
“I hope they go back to school in the fall with a new perspective on what it’s like to be on the other side of the teacher’s desk,” she said.
For more information about AFT, visit http://education.gsu.edu/AFT.