(Orange, Texas)

September 24, 2013

More than making the grade

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — The teachers of tomorrow are learning what it takes to be an instructor today at Lamar State College-Orange.

Students in Dorraine Babcock’s Education 1301 class at Lamar State College in Orange are learning what it will take to become a teacher at a school district in Texas. This includes the art and science of teaching, understanding learning behaviors of students, the styles of learning utilized to educate children, and even what is considered proper attire for a professional teacher.

Babcock has over 40 years of experience as an educator and knows first hand how important it is for new teachers to look the part.

“Dressing professionally is part of being a teacher,” Babcock said to her class. “I started teaching in the late ’60s and mini-skirts were the popular thing. I got sent home during my first week of teaching because my skirt was too short. It may have been a cute skirt, but it was not appropriate for school.”

Babcock had each of her 30 students stand in front of classmates in small groups to be critiqued by their peers on what was appropriate and what might need to be changed or was unacceptable.

“The students are doing this now because this is what the job demands,” she explained. “It sets them apart from the students. This is professionalism.”

Samantha Hanson, a student in Babcock’s education class, is one of many aspiring teachers. She hopes to find a job teaching Family Consumer Science once she earns her degree.

“A first impression will mean a lot and this experience will only help us make a good impression,” Hanson said. “It will say something about who we are. If you look sloppy and disorganized, then you and your work ethic will be perceived as sloppy and disorganized.”

John Gilchrist is one of several men in Babcock’s education class as well. His love for science as a student has led him to pursue a career as a science teacher. Although he did not completely agree with concept of what a modern teacher should wear, he understands the significance.

“I think it’s a little old school about the tattoos having to be covered and no piercings, but it really does convey the professionalism of what a teacher should be,” Gilchrist explained. “It’s what we have to do to become a teacher, and this process in class will be a big help to us in the future as we participate in classroom observations and look for a teaching job in the future.”