Apprentice student Faith Siegfried poses outside of the elementary art classroom. (Ashley Harris)
Apprentice student Faith Siegfried poses outside of the elementary art classroom.

Ashley Harris

Apprentice: the future teachers of NUHS

An exploration in elementary education

November 29, 2021

High school students get the chance to explore future career options in elementary education. The apprentice program allows high school students to go to the elementary school and work with kids. The high school students go to the elementary school for one hour a day, Monday through Friday. Each high school student is assigned to one teacher for the semester. Alyssa Nelson, 4th-hour apprentice student, said, “I love getting to spend time with the kids every day and build connections with them. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep kids in control, but it is completely worth it.”

Apprentice student Alyssa Nelson checks into the elementary school.

Anita Longtin, who is a teacher at NUHS, runs the apprentice program. The class has existed for over 25 years, and Longtin has been in charge of it for the past ten years. The class began with fewer options than it has now. Previously students were only able to attend physical education classes. Now students help out in many different types of classrooms such as art, music, and library/media.

Apprentice has many benefits, including a way for students to explore interests in a degree in elementary education. Longtin said, “One of my favorite parts of the class is when high school apprentice students go on to get their degree in education and become teachers themselves.” Students discovering their love for teaching is one of the many rewarding parts of the class.

This semester 19 students participate in the class. This number is considered small compared to previous years. In the past, the apprentice program has had over 36 students. It is an option for students to continue the class second semester if it fits in their schedule. Most students will choose to stick with the class the whole year. They do have the option to switch classes after the first semester, but most students will stick with their current teacher placements.

There are so many pros to being involved in the apprentice program. Longtin said, “Hearing the HS students share their stories/experiences they have when they work with the elementary students is so rewarding.” Longtin gets the chance to hear these stories every Tuesday morning during the required meetings at 7:30 am. Longtin also said, “Watching the interactions between the HS students and the elementary students is amazing – the younger students look up to the older students – they are true role models!”

All of the apprentice students greatly enjoy the class. Alyssa Nelson said, “I am so happy I decided to take the class – it has been such an amazing experience.”

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