College of Education creates program for freshmen interested in teaching

By Jacqueline Evans

The NIU College of Education created the Themed Learning Community Program (TLC) for NIU students interested in becoming teachers.

In correlation with the Clinton Rosette Middle School‘s Black Student Union, both NIU and the middle school formed a service learning project.

The TLC program featured 23 freshmen, all enrolled into UNIV 101, ENGL 103 and EPFE 201. Students were able to learn about educational issues and solutions in a real world setting. Students visited charter schools in Chicago as well as Clinton Rosette Middle School.

“We created a caring community for incoming students,” said English 103 professor Lori Lawson. “The program is a shared body of knowledge and experiences relating to education, in the classroom and in real life.”

On Wednesday, both NIU and middle school students gave presentations about what they learned throughout the semester to conclude the program.

The program was spearheaded by LaMetra Curry, coordinator of recruitment services and community activist, and Connie Fox, associate dean of the College of Education.

“We wanted to teach outside the box and give students new experiences,” Curry said. “We created a program that was beneficial to both the NIU students who wanted to teach and to influence middle school students to attend college and hopefully become teachers themselves.”

The TLC program gives NIU freshmen the opportunity to experience different types of students and classroom environments.

“The program allows students in TLC to see what diverse classrooms looks like,” said Shannice Berry, graduate assistant to the TLC program and adult and higher education major. “[Students] got to see what being a teacher is all about.”

Throughout the semester, students from both schools examined social justice issues in education and the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. The presentations featuring poetry, song and dance that were focused on King and how they would achieve their dreams and goals.

Some students who attended the presentation were impressed and appreciated the effort by both NIU and Clinton Rosette Middle School

“The presentation was great,” said Jamella Clay, junior business administration major. “I could tell all the students put a lot of work into it. I think it’s great that the schools combined to improve learning and teaching for so many students,”

Vice Provost Earl Seaver was also in attendance and spoke about the importance of learning from others.

“Learning is not just about yourself,” Seaver said. “[Learning] is about working in teams and communities.”