KOKOMO, Ind. — As a high school student, Courtney Brackett knew she wanted a career working with children in some capacity.
By participating in Indiana University Kokomo’s Tomorrow’s Teachers program, she earned college credits while a student at Kokomo High School and experienced a taste of what it might be like to be an educator.
Now a senior at IU Kokomo, she’s narrowed her focus to school psychology.
“The Tomorrow’s Teachers program has influenced my college and career journey in so many ways,” Brackett said. “I got a head start in the teaching world, and being in a classroom, I saw it from a teacher’s perspective. This program is one of the best things I’ve ever been part of, and I’m so proud to be one of the first students to go through it.”
The Tomorrow’s Teachers program allows high school juniors and seniors to take entry-level School of Education classes, taught by IU Kokomo faculty at their high schools. They also get early experience assisting in classrooms in their district, and participate in on-campus events.
The program began in 2018 at Caston, Logansport, Kokomo, and Western schools, and later added Alexandria-Monroe. For the 2022 to 2023 school year, Hamilton Heights, Madison-Grant, Mississinewa, and Tipton high schools have joined.
School of Education faculty hosted on-campus orientation prior to the start of the semester, with sessions to prepare the 70 participating students for college classes, along with campus tours.
Rebecca Meek, education professions teacher from Mississinewa High School, said the on-campus experience is just one reason her district wanted its students to participate in Tomorrow’s Teachers.
“They will be challenged, and they will be exposed to what it’s like to be a teacher earlier than students typically are,” she said. “We also like the dual credit opportunity, to earn college credit before they graduate. We hope it encourages them to become teachers, because we need more teachers.”
Brackett said from her experience, the program helped her not only as a future teacher, but as a college student.
“I am more comfortable with my professors and classmates, and when I go to my school placements, I’m comfortable with the teachers and students because I had that prior experience,” she said. “You learn all those college things you don’t normally learn in high school, and it made my transition so much easier.”
IU Kokomo freshman Ella Hobson said the program confirmed that she wants to be a high school English teacher.
“I found out through my experience that I did want to be a teacher,” the Logansport resident said. “You get to work with real teachers who can give you a lot of tips and guidance. It shows you the reality of being a teacher, and helps you figure out if that’s something you want to go to college for.”