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Barry Joyce of UD (standing behind drawing) talks with Prestige Academy teachers (from left) Sean Todd, Brittany Wilson and Charles Duncan.
Energetic. Respectful. Organized. Challenging. Enthusiastic. Makes you feel special.
The eighth-graders from the Prestige Academy charter school in
Wilmington didn’t have any trouble coming up with a list of
characteristics that make a great teacher — exactly the kind of teacher
that some of them hope to become someday.
The students were part of a daylong Success Through Education
conference at the University of Delaware on March 17, designed to
encourage interested teens to pursue a college degree and a teaching
career. About 75 students, many of them from groups that are
underrepresented in higher education, from six schools around Delaware
attended the event with their teachers.
“We really believe in the value of teaching as a career, and we want
these kids to see that,” said Barry Joyce, associate professor of history
and one of the faculty organizers of the event. “And we all know that
the diversity of faculty in our schools doesn’t match the diversity of
the student body, so we especially wanted to reach out” to
The conference was co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Secondary Teacher Education and by the School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development.
Leading the day’s activities, in addition to Joyce, were Hannah Kim,
assistant professor of history, and Carol Wong, associate professor of
education. Joyce and Kim are the coordinators of the Social Studies Education program at UD, which prepares students to teach in secondary schools.
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Hannah Kim of the College of Arts and Sciences' Social Studies Education Program speaks with students about UD's admissions process and teacher preparation programs.
Students attending the conference arrived on campus by bus at the
start of the school day and spent the morning getting a brief overview
of the University and its teacher preparation programs, followed by
visits to residence halls and classes. After lunch, the students divided
into smaller groups to engage in the “What Makes a Great Teacher?”
activity and to hear a presentation from UD’s undergraduate admissions
During the activity, teams of students traced the outline of one of
their classmates on a large sheet of paper, then labeled the drawing
with their own ideas of what qualities make up the ideal teacher.
Assisted by UD undergraduate education students, the groups also
discussed such subjects as the challenges facing teachers.
In the larger group discussion about preparing for college, Danny
Barrow, UD assistant director of admissions, told the students what
kinds of grades, test scores and high school classes the University
looks for in assessing prospective students. But he said that
non-cognitive factors such as leadership qualities and resilience in
overcoming difficulties are considered as well.
He told the students that he was the first in his family to attend
college and that he sought out mentors to help him. Students asked
Barrow questions about the availability of scholarships and other
financial aid and about the University’s Commitment to Delawareans that provides a kind of roadmap for in-state students to follow in high school.
The conference was part of a program now in its third year that aims
to encourage secondary school students from diverse backgrounds to
consider a teaching career and to consider studying education at UD,
said Kate Scantlebury, director of the Center for Secondary Teacher
Education and a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and education.
The third important purpose of the program, she said, is for
participants “to learn about what college is like, how college is
different from high school and what it takes to be admitted and be
successful at the University of Delaware.”
Most of the students at the conference attended a similar program on
campus in the fall, Joyce said, and were eager to return. They have
shown interest in teaching at a variety of grade levels, from early
childhood to elementary to secondary school. Participants came from
Milford, Indian River, Sussex Central and Brandywine high schools,
Prestige Academy and Las Américas ASPIRA Academy, a dual-language
charter school near Newark.