Every January and April, Casco Bay High School pauses classes so students can engage in week-long, elective courses called intensives, in which students can study a topic in depth, all day, for five days. This January, the school offered a new intensive called “Casco Teaches.” It was designed to introduce students to the world of teaching and to the concept of teaching as a future profession.
“We began our week asking students to reflect on the inspirational educators that have taught them and memorable lessons they have experienced throughout their education,” according to Matt Bernstein, a CBHS humanities and social studies teacher – and the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year – who co-led the intensive course with CBHS Principal Derek Pierce.
“Using these stories to guide us,” Bernstein continued, “the cohort began answering two of our guiding questions: What makes a great educator? And, what makes a great lesson? Students identified a host of qualities that impact them positively, ranging from educators that they can tell really care about their students and are passionate about their subject matter to the importance of making learning joyous and creative. Students then paired their personal reflections with a variety of texts – in article and video format – about core practices that support high quality teaching and learning and that create supportive and transformational school communities.”
He said the students taking the course then did field observations in local classrooms across the district, before returning to the high school ready to put their learning into action. They developed a lesson plan and taught the lesson to their peers.
“All in all, the Casco Teaches intensive was a tremendous experience and we were thrilled to learn that it made many students consider teaching in the future,” Bernstein said.
Read more about Casco Teaches in an article Bernstein wrote for the Maine Department of Education website.