Cultivating 'home grown' future teachers

Lincoln Southwest High School Associate Principal Marco Pedroza looked out into the audience of high school students and couldn’t help but smile.

“This is a great sight - to see a room full of young people interested in becoming educators is a great thing,” Pedroza said.

He was referring to the 56 Lincoln Public Schools students who attended the district’s annual Future Multicultural Teachers Workshop, held April 6 at LPS District Office. One of the day-long workshop’s primary goals is to further encourage culturally diverse students who have expressed interest in being teachers. Along those lines, the workshop also aims to increase the number of culturally diverse teachers in the district.

“The idea is to emphasize ‘home grown’ when it comes to recruiting teachers. Hopefully, through events like this, we can help prepare current students to be some of our future teachers,” said LPS Multicultural School/Community Administrator Thomas Christie, who started the workshop nearly 20 years ago.

The day’s activities included small and large group discussion about a variety of topics, including multicultural and teaching issues; educational videos; and a panel discussion that featured a group of culturally diverse LPS educators: Pedroza, Lincoln North Star High School Principal Vann Price, LPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction Takako Olson, and Park Middle School music teacher Jai Burks.

Multiple students said afterwards they felt inspired and energized by the event. Lincoln High School senior Jack Buchanan said it solidified his interest in being a teacher.

"It’s a great way for me and other kids like me who want to pursue educational careers to get that experience," Buchanan said. “I think it would really make a difference for kids to see someone like me as their teacher.”

Published: April 10, 2018, Updated: April 10, 2018

"This is a great sight - to see a room full of young people interested in becoming educators is a great thing."

Marco Pedroza, Lincoln Southwest High School associate principal