BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier public schoolteachers today officially are back in class.
But the newest among them have been setting up all week. Orientation for Bossier School District's new teachers began Monday.
Two of the newest teachers have a bit of a leg up on some of the other new teachers. That's because they mentored at the schools where they now are teaching.
It's part of Louisiana Education Department's Believe and Prepare. LSU-Shreveport was given $50,000 through that program to start Project Shadow, which lets education majors shadow teachers in Bossier public schools for an entire year. Last year, LSU-S and Bossier School District placed education majors in Title I schools.
That's how Lacey Oakes and Dusty Young got started. Both decided at the end of the year that they wanted to teach full time their first year at the schools where they mentored.
Oakes was at Rusheon Middle; Young at Bossier High. Now Oakes is a sixth-grade English teacher and Young teaches English.
They say the program really prepared them going into their first year. It enabled them to build relationships with faculty members and staffers as well as some students at their new schools.
The program also opened their eyes to some of the real-life challenges teachers face, Oakes and Young said.
"This forces us into the classroom, so it forces us to see what real life is like. So it's definitely beneficial," Young said.
"You get to spend a lot more time with your teacher, the mentor teacher," Oakes said. "I feel like it would yield new teachers into the field (who) are much more confident and prepared and share the same characteristics as tenured teachers."
KSLA News 12 also asked the new teachers what they expect and what they aim to do in their first year of teaching.
"My desire is to prepare my students for not only for seventh grade but for the rest of their academic careers," Oakes responded. "I want them to understand that the importance of their education and their future starts now."
Young said: "I'm here so that we could have a really strong parish and a really strong team. It's foolish to me if we teach teamwork to our kids and we don't act like a team ourselves."
The two teachers, who will meet their students Aug. 8, both say they're excited about their first year teaching on their own.