Transforming Tomorrow’s Teachers

Elective course grows future educators


Math Mentoring

Not many courses at McLean offer the potential for guaranteed future employment, but one two-year elective is
an exception. The Teachers for Tomorrow course, taught by Lawrence Letkiewicz, provides students with some of the most career-readying experiences of their lives, all packed into their junior and senior years.

In the first year of the program, students get to step into elementary, middle and even high school classrooms to observe and work with students.

Considering the importance of this responsibility, Teachers for Tomorrow students have to have a decent understanding of how learning really works. The first few months of the course are spent learning the basics as students dive into the practical psychology of learning.

“This course really gets you to think about how people develop, how people communicate and how we can communicate with other people,” Letkiewicz said.

Letkiewicz emphasizes the importance of creating a classroom environment in which many approaches to learning are taken in order to suit the variety of students.

“We learn about all the different types of teaching styles: kinesthetic, auditory, visual, reading and writing. Kinesthetic learning is when you’re hands on, auditory is where a student is better at listening, visual is when a teacher will put up PowerPoints and so on,” junior Sofia Lopez said.

After students feel confident in their foundational understanding of what it means to be a teacher, they do in-classroom observational studies. They spend three class periods in the fall and 20 class periods in the spring observing and taking note of the environment in different classrooms.

“They carefully take into account how [teachers] design the classes, how they design the lessons, how they interact with the students and how the students respond,” Letkiewicz said.

In addition to observing, Letkiewicz’s students plan and present real lessons to classes. While being in front of a class can be stressful, the experience helps them grow as educators.

“Teaching the actual lessons can be really nerve-wracking, but it prepares me for what I’m going to have to do in the future. While I was [teaching], I noticed that I was going really fast and that [the students] needed me to slow down,” Lopez said.

Teachers for Tomorrow students find that the class has made them feel more confident in pursuing teaching. “It made me feel better about my future and that I was taking a step towards my career,” junior Jane Smith said.

Second year Teachers for Tomorrow students can apply for a recruitment contract and complete an application and interview process. If they do well, they can be offered a guaranteed teaching position with FCPS following their completion of a four-year teaching program at an accredited university.

“Being a senior in high school with a teaching position waiting for them when they graduate from college is a great thing,” Letkiewicz said.

The demand for teachers is high right now, and the recently instituted Teachers for Tomorrow course has lots to offer, especially to students who are enthusiastic about taking the educator career path and want to explore
the overwhelming rewards that come with the experience.

“Realize that this is more than a job—it’s more of a calling,” Letkiewicz said. “If you feel that you can do this, then you need to give yourself an opportunity to find out if you can.”