Cadet Teaching

PBHS program produces homegrown teachers
Posted on 04/23/2019
Julia Dragon

A program started several years ago at Poplar Bluff Schools is beginning to produce homegrown teachers within the district. 

Julia Dragon is nearing completion of her first year teaching at the Middle School, while MacKenzie Moore of the PBHS Class of 2017 is currently student teaching third grade at Lake Road and recently accepted a full-time job with the elementary school for 2019/20.

Moore and Dragon are among about 20 students who have taken the cadet teaching class at PBHS since its inception during the 2012/13 school year. 

“It’s kind of what made me think that I really want to do this for a living,” stated Dragon, who was among the first participants of the class. Dragon went on to earn her teaching certificate from Hannibal-Lagrange University, and obtained her student teaching hours under fifth grade reading instructor Shelly Ridens last school year. 

The cadet teaching class was launched by Barbie Hon, A+ scholarship coordinator and vocational resource educator, as a semester-long extension of A+ tutoring. Once High School juniors and seniors finish their tutoring hours on campus, they become eligible for the class, granted they are in good standing in the A+ scholarship program. The state-sponsored scholarship is based on GPA, attendance, code of conduct and Future Teachers of America membership. 

“I think it’s pretty neat that we started the class as a way to help [prospective teachers], and they ended up getting hired,” Hon reflected. “They probably learned something within this class that hopefully they’ll be able to apply here.” 

Cadet teaching involves working directly with younger students by assisting an educator, and routinely documenting their experiences in a journal. Also to receive a passing grade, participates must write a paper about behavior management or effective teaching strategies, attend a school board meeting, interview a faculty member other than their supervisor or create a lesson plan, among other syllabus options. 

Oftentimes the supervising teacher requests that their A+ tutor continue the second half of the school year in their classroom, as was the case with dual credit alumna Moore under the tutelage of Oak Grove teacher Kristie Robinson. In other instances, a cadet teacher may want to gain experience in another school building within the district, according to Hon. 

Hon said she devised the guidelines after researching models from other secondary institutions with similar programs in place. So far four students are signed up to take the class next school year. 


Cutline: Middle School teacher Julia Dragon, a graduate of the PBHS Class of 2013, conducts a MAP test review with her sixth grade class on Wednesday, April 17.

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