The grow your own teacher program inspires students to become educators


Photo courtesy to Rachel Bostick

The Grow Your Own Teacher program encourages students to pursue a career in teaching in District 204.

Chloe Stables, Spotlight Reporter

The grow-your-own-teacher program is a district-wide initiative aimed to encourage students to become educators. The program has only been around for two years and is district-led. Currently, the program has a lot of members who all share an interest in pursuing a future educational career.

The program started to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois. The program’s Metea Valley building coordinator Rachel Bostick believes that grow-your-own-teacher is an excellent way to inspire students to teach the district.

“Our goal is to show students the spirit and experience of working in District 204. Teaching is awesome and there are so many areas within education a person can work in,” Bostick said. “We want students to view our school district as a place they want to work in.”

Unlike most other clubs, the grow-your-own-teacher program meets during the school day. The program allows students to engage in a variety of trips to schools within the district throughout the year.

“Students take part in a classroom observation every quarter and we introduce them to different levels each time. For first-year students, the first observation is at a high school, the second observation is at a middle school, the third is at an elementary school and the fourth is like a ‘choose your own adventure.’ At this point, you have explored all levels and so you get to pursue what teaching environment you are most interested in,” Bostick said. “Students who have already been through the program pick what grade they are interested in and get paired with a teacher for the whole school year.”

These activities allow students to experience the classroom environment through the perspective of an educator. During observations, students interact with educators and learn about teaching styles and techniques. 

Bostick recommends to those who are interested in joining to pay attention to morning announcements and look out for posters in case the program starts to accept more students.