Students get a glimpse into the world of teaching with the new Fundamentals of Teaching class



Mrs. Harden helps a student with an assignment for her new class, Fundamentals of Teaching. This class is a recent addition to the WSHS curriculum, which allows students to explore teaching as a profession.

Most students have no idea what it’s like to be a teacher; they go to class and do their work but are only ever able to experience school as a student. Two new classes, which allow students to bridge that gap and better understand what it means to be a teacher, Fundamentals of Teaching and Teaching as a Profession, are now being offered by the district; and White Station High School is the first school to offer them. Through these new classes, students have the opportunity to not only learn the basics of good teachingf but also get opportunities to develop their skills and gain real-world teaching experience. However, these classes didn’t come out of nowhere. Fundamentals of Teaching and Teaching as a Profession are part of an initiative in the state of Tennessee to combat a recent teacher shortage and set students on a career path more quickly.

“They want more teachers,” Principal Carrye Holland said. “There’s a teaching shortage. So we’re trying to get students interested in teaching while they’re still in high school and get them on that path … it’s like a teacher pipeline.” 

While this is the first teaching class in the district, it is not the first in the state. These classes and other classes l that center on certain career paths are funded by the CTE (Career and Technical Education), which communicates with leaders in different industries to decide where more workers are needed and which classes could fill that need. Other courses the CTE has offered around Tennessee include welding, agribusiness, food science, veterinary science, nursing services and more. 

“There’s plenty of people who go to college, but no one talks about the people who may choose not to go to college,” Holland said. “What if we found them a job where there’s the need there, they need a job the industry needs more workers, so you try to collaborate and fill the gaps.”

COVID made organizing the classes difficult, particularly when it came to finding a good teacher for the class. Luckily, the school found a well-fitting teacher in the form of a former special education teacher who felt inspired by what she felt these classes offered students: Latita Harden. 

“I heard about this class that was being started, this Teaching as a Profession class, and it was something that I thought was really powerful for the district,” Harden said. “The idea of having our own kids teaching our future students. It was really inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it.” The main goal of these classes is to give students insight into the teaching profession and give students a more detailed view of teaching. Harden and Holland also hope that these classes will help students understand their teachers better. 

“It gives students a different perspective than what they experience as just a student in the classroom,” Harden said. “They have the opportunity to learn what we do, and it’ll help them appreciate it more and give them a more realistic idea of if this is something they want to do in the future.”

Fundamentals of Teaching also offers valuable opportunities to students such as real-world teaching experience and the ability to work with college students. 

“It allows them to really explore this profession of education and an opportunity to interact differently with teachers,” Holland said. “They’re also going to do things like visit elementary schools and work with students in literacy and reading … it’s going to make that transition to college and to real teaching that much smoother.”

While the classes are small for now, Holland and Harden both want the classes to grow in the future. 

“I hope that many people will decide that this is what they want to do, that they have a love for teaching and they’ll come back and teach in our community,” Harden said. “I don’t think there’s anyone better to teach our kids than our kids.”