Elizabeth City State University is committed to producing strong, future educators. A summer institute for incoming freshmen and transfer students has given a new class of future educators the jumpstart they need for a successful experience as university students and as classroom teachers.
As the 2021 fall semester is well underway, ECSU Department of Education chair, Dr. Shelia Williams, says the institute not only prepared these students for hard and fulfilling work ahead, but it also laid the groundwork for continued mentoring and guidance necessary to help shape the future educators.
“The institute was designed to support education majors in various program areas including birth-to-Kindergarten, elementary, history, math, and special education,” said Dr. Williams.
Held last month, the program focused on helping ECSU education students become acclimated to the education program; build strong relationships with their education peers; prepare them for leadership roles in the field of education; and give them support for the required Praxis Core Exam.
The institute offered students inspirational messages from people such as keynote speaker and former ECSU education student, Juan Langford, or Joshua Mallory, also a former ECSU student, now an assistant principal for the Wake County School District.
Dr. Williams says students were in “awe” of Mr. Langford’s address, quoting him throughout the institute. Mr. Mallory shared his steps taking him from an undergraduate at ECSU to a Ph.D., candidate.
“He raved about his support throughout his time at ECSU and how setting strategic goals will lead to success,” said Dr. Williams.
ECSU education faculty also guided students through areas that are important to their futures as educators. Dr. Jannifer Sykes is an assistant professor for elementary education and former public-school teacher. She outlined the characteristics of a successful teacher.
“Students were able to self-reflect and determine the qualities they already possess to become strong teacher-leaders and the steps to a long career in education,” said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Cheryl Luton is also an assistant professor in education and she presented the students with information to help them prepare for the Praxis Core Exam. The exam is required by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to pass areas of reading, writing and math.
“This effort gave students an advantage in tackling what can sometimes be an obstacle for program entry,” said Dr. Williams.
Education students are required to take both an entry exam and a licensure exam. They will spend more than 600 hours in the classroom with a certified teacher before completing the ECSU education program.
“Students felt enlightened, better prepared and more knowledgeable of requirements for education majors,” said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams says that supporting the students through all phases of their experience at ECSU works to produce stronger educators. Students received a laptop computer to assist them with their clinical and student teaching needs, she said.
“Participants will continue to be supported and mentored through meeting regularly as participants in Future Teacher Leaders Club in the Department of Education,” said Dr. Williams.