Future Teachers from Jemison High Win State Honor

Keith Martin and Kihya Pettway of Mae C. Jemison High School were recognized with resolutions at a recent Alabama State Board of Education Meeting for being the first two students in the state to win the Future Teachers of Alabama (FTA) Grow Our Own lesson plan and video contest.  The Grow Our Own initiative is a product of the FTA’s TEACH Alabama program and is one of several innovative approaches the organization employs to focus on attracting more talent to careers in the field of education.

When Keith Martin found out he had been one of the two state winners, he says that he was happy that they had put in all the hard work. 

“I was so excited that I screamed,” says Jemison High Graduation Coach Sheila Johnson, “I was so excited […] because we had to compete with other counties throughout the state.”

Both FTA and TEACH Alabama began the Grow Our Own initiative to provide Alabama’s local school systems with additional opportunities to focus on activities that promote teaching as a career, highlight the importance of America’s educators, and encourage students to strongly consider the field of education as a future career choice.  According to Kihya Pettway, “The Grow Your Own program is a program where the teachers help students to grow into teachers themselves.” 

As part of the program, students learn to construct a lesson plan and then video themselves teaching it in an actual classroom setting.  That lesson plan and video are then submitted for the competition.

Kihya and Keith presented a lesson about jazz music to students at McNair Junior High School.  The students at McNair learned about some of the history of jazz and also got to experience musical selections from a variety of the genre’s periods.

Ms. Johnson says that the students were a little shy at first, but as she worked with them she got to see their confidence and skills build. 

“At the end,” she says, “I’m just a very proud educator.”

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