Students receive first-hand experience in teaching through the Invite to Teach program

Invite to Teach is a program offered at York to students who look for an authentic experience in the educational career atmosphere. The class offers a realistic experience for students who enjoy teaching but want to try it out prior to fully committing to it in college. 

This program is specifically offered to juniors and seniors and is determined through an application process. The kids accepted into the program are assigned to a teacher at an elementary or middle school in District 205 and will report to that teacher and their class four times a week. Students get to spend their seventh and eighth period shadowing their assigned teacher and experience what it is like to be in a teacher’s shoes.

Laurie Crist, FCS department coordinator, runs the family and consumer science programs including the Invite to Teach program. Crist explains precisely what roles the students in the program essentially have as co-teachers.

“They get to work with the kids individually, in small groups, they teach lessons, create activities and games,” Crist said. “Also not just in the classroom, they get to go to meetings, open houses, conferences, and field trips. They get a full picture of what teaching is like.”

Anna Swiatek is a junior at York who is currently enrolled in the program. Swiatek shadows two classes, one primary specific education class and also a first grade class.

“I chose to do Invite to Teach because I am considering going into teaching and I wanted to see if this profession would be a good fit for me,” Swiatek said. “It’s a great way for students to try teaching and see if it’s the right fit for them.”

Swiatek has found that she wants to pursue being an elementary school teacher because of the opportunities the Invite to Teach program has offered her. She strives to grow and learn from the experience she is getting through the program.

“I’ve learned so much from the Invite to Teach program, but I learned that a lot goes into being a teacher,” Swiatek said. “I got to see all of the hard work and behind the scenes that students don’t always get to see.”

Other students in the program even have the opportunity to shadow specialists at the local schools. Avery Sanders, a senior at York, is shadowing the occupational therapist at Jackson Elementary School.

“One thing I’ve learned through the program is that I definitely want to pursue my education degree in occupational therapy. Being able to work with the OT was such an eye opening experience,” Sanders said. “I love being able to work hands-on with her and being able to help her plan activities with the kiddos.”

Being able to shadow teachers as well as specialist workers has allowed the students enrolled in the program to have experience in the educational environment, unique to their personal career interests. The common aspect that all Invite to Teach students share is their enjoyment with the children.

“The best part of the program is building the relationships between not only the adults but the children,” Sanders said. “You really start to love these kids that you work with everyday and to be able to learn and grow from them is awesome.”

Working in an environment with children is an appeal in itself and the Invite to Teach program allows students to form close bonds and relationships with their own young students.

“My favorite part of the Invite to Teach program is building relationships with your students,” Swiatek said. “It’s so much fun to see how excited they get when you walk into the classroom and it’s an amazing feeling when you get to teach them each day.”