Education Matters: Fresno County spotlights careers in education

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - Competitions you will see at the office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools annual career skills challenge that might not have the flash and sparkle of something like welding – but is just as important – careers in education.

“It gives them an opportunity to take off and shine and show off their CTE (Career and Technical Education) skills that they have been honing in their CTW/ROP (Regional Occupational Program) courses and get to do it in a competitive way,” said administrator Valerie Vuicich.

“I think it’s important for us to have new students coming up to become new teachers,” teacher Carolyn Scott said.

So a team from Kerman High School demonstrated to judges how they would create a hook – something creative to grab a kids attention in the classroom.

“If you don’t catch their attention you're not going to get them into the lesson; they’re not going to want to pay attention; they’re not going to want to learn,” student Kayla Delgado said.

These are education standards they learn in their classrooms as students in the careers in education pathway at Kerman High.

They also observe teachers working at every grade level. And during the second semester, students like 17-year-old Paola Lopez actually work in the classrooms.

“Being a part of it and like teaching my own lesson and stuff – I think that’s great because it helps us with like communicating with kids and stuff,” Lopez said.

For third grade teacher Michelle Karagozian, having a student with Paola’s skills in the classroom is like having a second teacher helping out.

“It’s absolutely like having a student teacher,” Karagozian said. “She has completely fallen in love in love with my students. She has met their parents; she knows what investment in a group of kids look like now rather than what she could learn in a classroom. She is completely invested because she has met the faces that go with her lesson plans that she is trying to create now.”

Besides the hands on experience of working with kids at every grade level, the students in the education courses can earn certifications that allow them to get jobs when they graduate.

When we visited the class, students were preparing to take the CBEST exam, which is required to enter a credentialing program, and for long time teacher Carolyn Scott, there could be no greater honor than preparing the next generation of classroom teachers.

Scott said, “This class gives me an opportunity to be with students – which I love – and also to know that I’m making a difference – I’m getting these students prepared to the best of my ability.”

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