Roberts said the program also helped validate a more basic decision: to become a teacher.
“I've always felt like teaching is my calling,” she said. “I've had a lot of teachers influence my life, and I guess I'd like to have the chance to influence someone else's life in that same way.”
James said students in the child psychology class are required to shadow teachers and to complete online reading assignments, homework and tests. The students will receive a grade in the class at the end of the semester.
James said she hopes to continue the program in upcoming semesters and will write another grant request to UCO's administrators to continue the venture in the fall.
Bryan Duke, associate dean of the College of Education, said the need for the program is evident.
“There's no substitute for on-site experience,” Duke said. “Education majors see movies and hear stories that color their perspectives on what teaching is like. When you get them in the schools, they realize they're just talking to kids, and it's not so intimidating. In that way, I think we're giving the students some confidence.
“We definitely want to find ways to continue funding the program. We are in the process of trying to find ways to sustain this program and keep it a high priority.”
The money from the grant goes toward paying for classroom materials and resources, as well as providing Linwood teachers a stipend in exchange for their participation.
I've had a lot of teachers influence my life, and I guess I'd like to have the chance to influence someone else's life in that same way.”
University of Central Oklahoma education major