A small group of students at Patton High School is getting a glimpse into what being a teacher is like through a new academy started this school year.

The Teacher Academy at Patton High School was created to help generate more interest in teaching as a profession and to give those students a way to explore the career in more depth. Students Ryan Shehan, Jamie Ward, Kendall Burns, Lydia Hildebran, Chloe White, Raven Leonard and Allie Kysar are participating in this school year’s cohort for the TeachersAcademy.

Each student has to complete 135 hours of classroom time during their time in the academy, which includes teaching a mini-lesson to a classroom full of elementary students. In the first semester they learned about the history of education and educational philosophy.

“We looked at several ways to think about school, and they set up their own classrooms,” said Amy Vaughn, the Teacher Academy instructor. “They made their own schools and then those schools underwent problems, and they had to figure out how to best handle and solve those problems.”

As to why the students want to be a part of this, the answers varied to wanting to be an athletic coach and being extra support for students when they need it. Several students shared how former and current teachers have helped them through tough times and how that has inspired them to want to do the same for others.

“I want to teach music because I want to give students the opportunity to learn about music,”said Leonard, who is in the band at Patton.

Kysar recently moved to Burke County and wanted to jump right into the academy and not miss a beat.

“I had a fifth-grade teacher and she was my math, science and English teacher, and she always made things fun and not like it was schoolwork,” Kysar said.

In the current semester, they will be going out to an assigned school and observing a teacher and eventually teaching a mini-lesson. The students are also required to write out their own educational philosophy.

“This semester expands on that basic knowledge and how systems work and how you have to collaborate with different groups of people,” Vaughn said. “I am secretly hopeful that most of these students will come back to Burke County (and teach).”

Being in the Teacher Academy will help students decide whether or not teaching is a profession they will enjoy.

“It will be a good experience, especially going out into the classroom and getting a feel for how it will actually be,” Burns said.

“The Teacher Academy is a great opportunity for our students to seek out one of the best professions out there,” Superintendent Larry Putnam said. “With each student being involved in a classroom in this way it will help better prepare them for after graduation. I appreciate Mrs. Vaughn for sharing her passion for teaching with these students. I am also proud of the students for taking a chance and experimenting with the possibility of becoming a teacher, which I know is a rewarding career choice.”

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