I Can Teach event attracts future teachers

Some people can remember a teacher who has shaped their life and made them into the person they are today.

Now, for some of the students, they want to give back and be that person for somebody else.

Students who are interested in becoming Pre-Kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers were able to ask industry professionals questions about what the career path looks like and what requirements does one need, at the I Can Teach event, which took place on the Pierce Mall, Monday, May 6.

This is the first time Pierce has ever held this event.

Instructor Special Assignment, SFP Grants and Career Pathways Coordinator Michael Williams said the importance of this event is to identify students who are interested in becoming teachers in the future and possibly at the college level.

“We are trying to re-educate the students, and let them know that there are a variety of ways to become a teacher,” Williams said. “Another goal is to minimize the roadblocks in the path, so students can experience a smoother transition when gaining their credential and leading them to become great teachers.”

Career Guidance Counselor Assistant for the Transfer Center at Pierce James Morris said he has had a few students come up who are interested in the associate degrees for transfers (ADT’s) for early childhood education and for elementary teacher education.

“To become an elementary school teacher some of the major requirements are Education 1, which is an introduction to teaching, Biology 3 and Geography 7,” Morris said. “So it’s about taking many general education classes to help a student become well-rounded, and that way students will be prepared when entering the field of education.”

Specialist with the Career Ladder at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Gwenda Cuesta said they offer support to students who are getting their teaching credentials.

“Wherever the employee is attending college, we provide up to $4,800 dollars in tuition reimbursement,” Cuesta said. “However, their career path in education depends on what type of teaching someone wants to do, but following your major study is not required.”

Cuesta said she was a teacher for over 10 years and taught high school Biology, but her favorite part was when her students had an ‘a ha’ moment and helping them learn by showing them they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

Ivette Rios, a Child Development major, said she came out to the event because her professors said she would benefit from it since she wants to become an elementary school teacher.

“I think I just want to teach pre-K because many people don’t really realize the significance of this time, such as what facilitated play really does for kids, and how it can benefit them,” Rios said. “I kind of want to help mold more well-rounded children.”

Credential Officers Monique Brown and Mayra Franco from the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University Northridge (CSUN) said their department offers single, multiple and special education subjects.

“The most popular program is secondary education,” Brown said. “The school districts are looking for English, math, science and special education teachers because those subjects are in high demand.”

Associate Professor of Auto Service Technology Alex Villalta said he always knew that he wanted to become a teacher.

“I always had a gravitational pull towards helping others, making a difference and creating paths,” Villalta said. “I try to not just meet the requirement, but I go out of my way to make sure students get exposure to different pathways in order for them to get a lucrative career or a decent job. What makes my day is knowing that the student was able to score a job or do well in an interview because aside from automotive, we teach life skills.”

There were 23 students who attended CSUN’s lecture on how to get a teaching credential.

According to Williams, the turnout was exciting and the event had students from Chatsworth and Birmingham high school who visited, which brought a mix of ages and interests.

He said the master plan is to make this an annual event.

“So if there is a demand for it, we’re here and I’m here to help out in any way possible,” Williams said. “We need teachers.”