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Georgia Southern hosts nearly 300 high school students for Future Georgia Educator Day

Keynote speaker for FGE Day was Double Eagle Alumna Teresa Thompson.

Nearly 300 high school students from across the state of Georgia traveled to the Statesboro Campus of Georgia Southern University on Thursday, September 26 to participate in the Future Georgia Educators (FGE) Day, an initiative 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.

“PAGE’s hope in co-hosting these events with the Georgia Southern College of Education is that these students will begin to envision themselves pursuing a degree in education and joining Georgia’s teacher workforce to make a difference in the lives of children,” said Mary Ruth Ray, FGE Coordinator and PAGE College Services Representative.

During the event, students heard from keynote speaker Teresa Thompson, Tattnall County Teacher of the Year, a top ten finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year and Georgia Southern Double Eagle alumna (B.S.Ed. Middle Grades, M.Ed. Instructional Technology). 

Workshop sessions were hosted on various topics to provide high school students with a better understanding of the teaching profession.

Attendees were also provided various opportunities to learn about the teaching profession. Georgia Southern College of Education faculty and students presented workshop sessions on topics such as children’s literature, assistive technology for students with disabilities, international teaching opportunities, counseling, music education, virtual classrooms, and hands-on science activities and learning. Through the event, the students were also able to learn about Georgia Southern and the college experience by touring the campus.

“I have students who are thinking about becoming teachers,” said Jonnie Larson, Liberty County High School’s early childhood education pathway teacher. “I graduated from Georgia Southern in 2011, and I loved showing off the campus and telling stories about my wonderful college experience as a student.”

During the event, PAGE hosted the FGE Knowledge Bowl, where students are challenged with curriculum from their education pathway courses. For the second year in a row, a team representing Effingham County High School won first place in the competition. Second place went to Statesboro High School and third place was earned by a team from Columbia County’s Greenbrier High School.

Students attended the day-long event from 13 different schools including: Bryan County High School, Claxton High School, Effingham County High School, Greenbrier High School, Jeff Davis High School, Jones County High School, Liberty County High School, Long County High School, Screven County High School, Southeastern Early College and Career Academy, South Effingham High School, Statesboro High School, and Tattnall County High School. 

“It is no secret that there is a teacher shortage in Georgia,” said Ray. “There is an urgent need to encourage our young people to consider a rewarding career in education, and these events serve to give them information, inspire them, and put them in touch with the folks at Georgia Southern that can help make that happen.”

Larson added that bringing her students to FGE Day helped her students to understand the requirements of a degree in education as well as the everyday role of a teacher both in and outside of the classroom.

“Teachers are able to build a person’s confidence by being their personal cheerleader. When a student sees ‘that’ teacher in the hallway, the student will tell the teacher how they are doing, ask for advice, and sometimes give a simple hug,” she said. “Teachers can be the rainbow in a child’s rainy skies.”

For more information on Future Georgia Educator Day, visit https://www.pageinc.org/fgeday/

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