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Georgia Southern hosts record numbers at FGE Day

FGE Day participants learned about Georgia Southern teacher preparation programs including B.S.Ed. Health and Physical Education (pictured).

On Thursday, September 28, 238 high school students interested in pursuing a teaching career visited Georgia Southern University for Future Georgia Educators (FGE) Day hosted at the Nessmith Lane Conference Center.

During the event, students were provided various opportunities to learn about the teaching profession. Georgia Southern College of Education faculty and students presented workshop sessions on topics such as degree programs offered in the College, STEM education and technology in education. Attendees also had the opportunity to gain insight from some of Georgia’s previous Teachers of the Year.

FGE Day is an initiative that is coordinated by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) in conjunction with colleges of education in Georgia institutions to provide professional learning, networking and college visitation for students who are considering teaching as a profession.

During the event, PAGE hosted the FGE Knowledge Bowl, where students are challenged with curriculum from their education pathway courses. Statesboro High School took  first place followed by Burke County High in second and Coffee County High School in third.

Additional competitions included the FGE Day t-shirt design contest and “Why Teach” campaign challenge. Metter High School took home the winning submissions for both contests.

The FGE Day kaynote address was given by 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year Ernie Lee.

Students attended the day-long event from 14 different schools including: Burke County High School, Claxton High School, Coffee County High School, Effingham County High School, Fulton Schools College & Career Academy, Jeff Davis High School, Jones County High School, Liberty County High School, Metter High School, Screven County High School, Statesboro High School, Tattnall County High School and Wayne County High School.

Lela Crosby, senior at Jeff Davis High School, explained she was excited to learn more about Georgia Southern and a career in teaching because she already knows she wants to become an Eagle Educator.

“I want to go to Georgia Southern, and being here today allows me to get a feel for the school and teaching in general,” she said. “It also allows me to join with others that are looking at the same career as I am and connect with those individuals.”

Crosby said she is interested in education at all levels–elementary through high school–and specifically would like to teach social studies or English. Her inspiration to become a teacher has been found in her own educators at Jeff Davis who have encouraged her to “try to the best of my ability to do everything in life.”

Screven County High Senior Kim Hunter also expressed that teaching is the career path for him thanks to the examples set by educators in his life. He plans to teach health and physical education, encouraging students of all ages to pursue healthy lifestyles.

“I grew up playing sports,” explained Hunter, “and students can learn a lot from a good coach and a good leader. You can show students how to be a better person and teach them about leadership.”

Tatumn Sample, a junior a Metter High School, says her “Examining the Teaching Profession” class, as a part of her Teaching as a Profession Pathway, has made her “really excited” to become an educator.

“I plan to teach because I like working with kids,” said Sample. “I understand that some students need more time than others, and I would like to help all students by incorporating more projects in class because that is what has helped me.”

Sample is interested in working with middle grades students teaching mathematics–her favorite subject.

Students met former Georgia Teachers of the Year and learned about their experiences.

PAGE College Services Representative Mary Ruth Ray explained that their organization began hosting FGE Days in response to the growing teacher shortage in Georgia.

“As the largest professional education association in the state, PAGE feels a responsibility to play our part in addressing this shortage,” said Ray. “One way of doing this is to host FGE Days where we partner with colleges of education to bring together high school students who have expressed an interest in teaching and expose them to inspiring award-winning educators as well as the colleges who can help them achieve this dream of becoming a classroom teacher.”

This is the third year that PAGE and Georgia Southern’s College of Education have partnered to host teachers for FGE Day, and Ray says that each year the attendance has increased.

“As the original ‘Georgia Teachers College,’ Georgia Southern is a natural choice to host such an event. The Georgia Southern College of Education has a long standing history of outstanding teacher preparation, and Dean Thomas Koballa and his faculty excel at hosting these high schoolers and fueling their enthusiasm for the education profession.”

For more information about FGE Day, visit https://page.site-ym.com/?FGEDay.

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