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  • PHS Digital Journalism Project

PHS Digital Journalism Project: Public Education Explored at PHS

By Nik Sobleskey

A 2022 article by Inside Higher Ed found that, from 2008 to 2019, the number of students completing teacher education programs in the U.S dropped more than a third in just 11 years. Locally, there are currently five open positions at Portland high School.

This kind of shows us that our school is not able to find the right staff. But it’s not only our school, multiple schools over the country have staff shortages.

Fewer people are seeking the opportunity to know what it’s like to work in a school or how it even looks from a teacher's perspective. But with one of the new classes at the Portland high school, a student can learn about what happens in a school and why. This class is called Future educator. Mrs. Dewitt, with the help of English Teacher Chad Fuller, created this class because they want students to have a better understanding of the school system, rather than just a student perspective. “We wanted to come up with these classes for students so they could get more opportunities. Or if a student thinks that one of the classes sounds interesting and it’s something new for them.” The class shows students how things like special education and alternative education works by watching documentaries and reading articles. But it also shows the students how teachers feel inside and outside of the class, and not just teachers but people that work inside a school. These are some of the things the Future Educator class has to offer to students, because not everyone gets to experience these things.

Throughout the class students will do multiple projects and research papers about different schools and different types of education, as well as research success criteria for schools and educators. Additionally, students learn how homelife, financial stress, sleep habits, and family environment impact a student’s success in the classroom. This work all culminates in a final presentation about what each student thinks the perfect school looks like.

While not a solution to the education crisis, as it’s not intended to make students want to become teachers, it is to help a student get into a teacher's perspective. As Mr. Fuller said, “Even if you're not going to be a teacher, you are going to be impacted by the realm of education, in your community and when you become a parent one day so this class helps you look at education you wouldn’t otherwise.”

This article is part of a series written by PHS Digital Journalism students taught by Ms. Chandra Polasek. The articles were written for posting on The Portland Beacon. All articles are original work of the students.


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