As some teachers leave the classroom in North Carolina, Reich College of Education continues to attract steady numbers to the “First in Teaching” mission at App State, especially through Teacher Education Preview Day.
During the preview day on Saturday, newly admitted high school seniors and transfer students caught a glimpse of what life is like as one of the 700 admitted applicants to the RCOE.
Recruitment committee chair for Appalachian Educators and sophomore education major Samantha Sweet said she enjoyed planning the day’s events, and addressing the negative stigma about teaching that is broken at App State with student-professor relationships.
“The people in the College of Education genuinely care about you,” Sweet said. “They are obviously there, they care about your education and they want you to become the best teacher that you can be.”
The day also highlighted the many reasons why RCOE claims it is one of the top schools for teaching, having the most National Board Certified alumni in the nation.
RCOE Dean Melba Spooner explained to students why App State values grooming teachers through the Reich College of Education.
Spooner said the “First for Teaching” phrase used in RCOE isn’t just a slogan, but a belief among faculty and staff.
“We truly believe, and we live the importance of helping learners realize their full potential,” Spooner said.
Spooner elaborated on how the best teachers make the biggest impact, something she said she believes App State does through RCOE’s community outreach programs such as the Kaleidoscope after-school program and a partnership with The ASU Academy at Middle Fork. Spooner also credited the five departments of the college and an award-winning faculty, consisting of Fulbright Scholars and Hall of Famers in the teaching field.
“We engage all of our candidates, all of our teacher educators, all of our principals, all of our counselors,” Spooner said. “We do more than just educate teachers.”
Spooner also said the college aims to expand student affair related services and focus on resources that help the success of future educators.
“I try to keep four words in the forefront of what I do and what I want our college to be: be informed, be intentional, be inclusive and be interconnected,” Spooner said.
One in five teachers in North Carolina is an App State alum. Associate Director of Admissions for Teacher Education Octavia Little credits the chain reaction of teachers affiliated with App State for attracting some applicants.
“Us being founded as a teaching college really does a lot for the university,” Little said. “I think it’s just state-wide known that Appalachian produces really good teachers. People find out that the program is pretty well-respected.”
Opportunities such as participating in field experiences, in which students can help teach and create lesson plans in local classrooms as a sophomore, and 25-30 professional development seminars offered each year to students, are some options RCOE offers, Little said.
Little also mentioned the steps faculty members take to constantly improve the program, including sharing on-site research in different elementary schools with students.
“We want to make sure our students are really prepared to go out into the classrooms in the way that they are set up today,” Little said. “Faculty participating in that research really makes a big difference.”
Jean Carlos Garcia, a freshman elementary education major, said he has already worked with many students in his first year in RCOE. Garcia said working with students and faculty has caused him to be more outgoing and has allowed him to find his passion for recruiting others to the organization.
“From the beginning of the year to now, I can see how much I have grown as a student,” Garcia said.