Palo Alto students get hands-on teaching experience

150 students went to elementary school to learn about teaching

SAN ANTONIO – About 150 Palo Alto College students are taking over some local elementary schools this fall. It’s part of a pilot program with Palo Alto College and Junior Achievement called, "JA for a Day."

The goal of that program is to give these future teachers hands-on experience early on.

"This is the fourth campus that we've done JA for a Day here at Harlandale," said Dr. Amie De Leon, Palo Alto College associate professor of teacher education. "This is unique, and I think they see the entire days’ worth instead of just coming in and observing a teacher for an hour or two. They actually get to see what it's like to prepare the lesson, teach the lessons and run the class."

Elizabeth Herrera was a student at Gilbert Elementary as a child. She went back to that school last Friday as a teacher in training. Herrera, who is now a sophomore at Palo Alto College, said she was inspired to be a teacher by her mother and aunt, who were both teachers.

"I have my best memories of elementary here," Herrera said. "For sure, the coaches, the teachers that are here. It's very nice to come back to the place where they made me."

Herrera spent the entire day with one classroom and said she learned a lot.

"I was expecting to observe and just to take notes," Herrera said. "But, no, they put us in the classroom, so we are interacting with the kids right now, and it's been a great experience."

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