TEXARKANA, Ark. – Seven Arkansas High School seniors pledged to become educators during a unique signing day event on Tuesday afternoon.
Madison Bowie, Shaquoria Floyd, Spencer Green, Elisha Lewis, Keaudra Matlock, Taylor Reed and Kloe Witt signed their letters of intent as 2022 Aspiring Teachers.
The school’s first annual Educators Rising Signing Day originated from a statewide initiative through the Arkansas Department of Education’s “Teach Arkansas” program, with the goal of increasing teacher retention and improving the profession for educators. During the signing day, senior students who are a part of the Educators Rising program sign letters of intent to pursue a degree in education.
Program Sponsor Monica McClelland said the signing day event is a way to recognize these future educators in a way that makes them feel appreciated and more likely to want to stay in the profession long-term.
“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “This is something I had never heard of. When I became an educator, no one really celebrated this.
“In the world that we live in, educators are not really praised the way they should be. So, this event is not only about changing the mindset of the profession of education, but also showing these students that this is an important job. “
The Educators Rising program offers students the opportunity to develop necessary classroom skills and experience teaching through co-curricular learning and supervised clinical experiences while still in high school. The program also helps increase teacher diversity through tools and resources designed to address the needs of diverse students and broaden the types of students who explore teaching as a profession.
McClelland said the major benefit of the program is that it lets the students see exactly what the teaching profession is like with hands-on, real-time teaching experience.
“Our program allows students to be immersed in individual classrooms,” she said. “If they see themselves as wanting to be an elementary teacher, they are able to go to a class and do clinical experience in that time period. They’ve gotten to experience what many teachers do not experience until they have their own classroom ….
“We want to grow the best teachers that we can so that we can continue to grow the best students and the best doctors, lawyers, teachers, and also the best community members. It is because of this that I wish to be the first to say to our seniors signing here today: It is always a great day to be a Razorback. When the time comes for you to find your first teaching job, remember your origins. “