“I’m learning something every second of the day.”
One of our goals at Friends’ School is that our students are continually learning something new and something about themselves. Yet this quote did not come from one of our kids. It was told to me by Yasamin Holland who is a Teacher Candidate (TC) in Beth Huennekens’ 1st grade class. Grown-ups get to learn here every day too.
Yasamin, who previously has taught fashion design at the high school level and worked at the Denver Art Museum, is amazed at the free flow of ideas she sees at our school and the passion that is naturally exhibited everywhere.
This week, one boy in her class discovered a book on snakes. He was so excited about it, he soon had a whole group of kids crowding around him to share in his enthusiasm. The teachers in the room are given complete autonomy to follow the interests of the kids, to meet them at the point of maximum learning. They were soon reading aloud a book on snakes to the class and encouraging the children to write about snakes. Yasamin calls it “snake-fever”.
When looking to find a graduate program that would lead her to a teaching career that would combine both her love of creativity and her love of kids, Yasamin found the Friends’ School Teacher Training Program (TPP) online. Our program works in association with the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado Department of Education to provide teacher candidates with an alternative teaching certificate. Most of our candidates opt to pursue a Master’s Degree in either Educational Psychology or Early Childhood Education.
The TPP currently trains 30 beginning teachers. We have 7 here at Friends’ working alongside our students every day Monday-Thursday, and 23 others at our partner schools: 6 in independent schools in Boulder, and 17 in public schools in the Boulder Valley School District. All the TCs come together on Fridays to learn about the art of teaching. It is a program that develops caring, diligent and reflective professionals who become part of our community. It embodies our school’s mission and the Founders’ vision of a model school.
The presence of teacher candidates at our school not only ensures the future of hands-on child-centered education, it also brings to our school wonderful, passionate people who love and teach our kids. When Yasamin graduates from the TPP, she is hoping to teach in an elementary school with a strong focus on the arts. Just as with our graduating fifth graders, Friends’ School will be proud to have been part of the journey.