In Lockport, a successful Take a Look at Teaching club is continuing to draw students into the education profession and it’s all thanks to the local union.
“In the past four or five years, there’s been this resurgence of ‘we need teachers’,” said Scott Reddinger, president of the Lockport Education Association. “Not only do we need teachers, but we need teachers who look like, sound like, talk like, have the same life experiences and backgrounds as the kids who are in school today.”
With more than 20 students regularly attending events like roundtable discussions, conferences with local schools and peer tutoring at the local elementary schools, the district now joins more than 50 around New York that currently run Take a Look at Teaching programs. The burgeoning Lockport club, under the advisement of Lindsay Siejak, includes a number of students who were recommended by educators within the district who “saw a spark in them.”
“Kids today are choosing other career pathways. Not as many people are going to college to become teachers and this is a real cause for concern,” said NYSUT President Melinda Person. “That’s why we created this program.”
To fund the club, the Lockport Education Association applied for a grant distributed through NYSUT. The money, awarded through the National Education Association’s Great Public Schools Fund, helps local unions afford the buses, experiences and advisors of Grow Your Own programs across the state.
Take a Look at Teaching is a union-led initiative that seeks to develop a robust, diverse educator pipeline in New York. In its first year alone, the project spread to over a dozen local clubs and programs that are helping students get a head start on a career in education. For more information, visit the Take a Look at Teaching website.