TAPS Program Reform Hurting Future Educators

Students+are+given+the+opportunity+to+teach+at+the+High+School%2C+Middle+School%2C+or+Elementary+Schools

Students are given the opportunity to teach at the High School, Middle School, or Elementary Schools

By: Theodore Coursen, Spring Editor

Instead of allowing students to become teachers aids, Colonia High School is making their Teacher Apprentice Program a regular class. Students believe that this is not giving students the full experience of becoming a teacher.

The TAPS program is a course run at Colonia High School for students who want to gain experience teaching in a classroom. Seniors are given the option of helping an instructor in classrooms whether it be here in the high, middle or grammar schools in Avenel and Colonia. For many years this program has given students the opportunity to help younger children grow and learn. It has proven to be beneficial for both the student teacher and the students in the classroom.

The downside to allowing students to become teacher aids is the fact that many of them neglect the program and do not show up when they are supposed to be there. It is required by students to complete six hours each week in the classroom, and by the end of the semester some students have not gone at all or have attended minimally.

To push the program in the right direction. It should only be open to students who wish to pursue a career in education. It should also be advised to participants that the program is difficult and require dedication. This would reduce the number of students who neglect the program.

Accounting teacher Joann Gobbo runs the program, “The school is moving towards a direction of college and career readiness, that’s one of the changes, to get students who want to go into education more prepared for college.” She has also stated that she will not be running the program next year; she is unsure of who is taking over.

High school students have a lot of responsibilities, from personal experience I can tell you that the program does require a lot of attention and a passion for teaching and helping young children. High school students with difficult classes and part time jobs tend to neglect the program to have more time to study or relax before heading to their job. The program stresses participants in the program, especially if they do not necessarily see themselves as a teacher in the future.

Despite this, students who take the program and are passionate about becoming an instructor in the future take it seriously and enjoy working with the children.

Juniors who wish to apply for the TAPS program next year are outraged by the recent changes. “The program as far as I understand, is going to qualify for TCNJ (The College of New Jersey) credit. So it is going to be divided between a classroom and students going out and applying their learning from their classroom environment, to that environment,” explained Gobbo.

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