As an Editor-in-Chief for the Pathfinder, senior Tyler Kinzy has many responsibilities when it comes to helping students improve their work. These obligations encouraged him to become a cadet teacher. As opposed to other classes, Convergence Journalism is a partially student-led class with editors working to improve students’ stories and prepare them for interviews. To help advance his leadership skills and editorial abilities, Kinzy decided to become Journalism teacher Debra Klevens’ cadet teacher.
What is your favorite thing about cadet teaching?
“I enjoy the process of getting to work with students and see incredible amounts of growth occur from the first day of the semester to the last day, even within an individual story cycle. Sometimes I’ll show someone at the very end [of the semester] their first draft or their first story and just sit back and be amazed by how much growth has occurred there,” Kinzy said. “Ultimately that’s the most important thing to me, I’m a very ardent supporter of prioritizing growth over proficiency in education, and being able to work with people in the trenches day in day out and see that gradual growth occurring is one of the most rewarding aspects of it for me.”
What is your least favorite thing about cadet teaching?
“A challenge is navigating the macro and micro aspects of [cadet] teaching simultaneously. [When] you’re working with a student on a story they’re writing, it’s very easy to establish tunnel vision and present all of your feedback specific to that story. But you have to remind yourself to take a step back and realize that this story, in a vacuum, isn’t that important, but what really matters is the broader educational opportunities that you’re creating and facilitating,” Kinzy said. “Whenever I’m working, even if it’s on tiny aspects of one story, I try to give feedback and present that learning opportunity in a broader sense. We’re not just working on making this sentence sound good, we’re working on a broader communication skill here to make sure the things that we’re working on resonate beyond journalism, and even within journalism on the next story.”
What is your favorite memory from cadet teaching?
“We had a little bit of spare time left at the end of class one day, [and] we did a plank competition to see who could hold a plank for the longest. Little moments like that, which you don’t typically associate with learning, are some of the most memorable moments. [They’re also] one of the ones where I think those connections, from an academic standpoint, are being fostered. I think this year specifically, those are the things I’ve missed the most,” Kinzy said.
Would you recommend cadet teaching to other students?
“I know of some cadet teachers for other classes that have more of a conventional setup who aren’t nearly as involved. That’s somewhat the nature of the class where the bulk of their job comes down to sitting around, maybe offering feedback on homework assignments here or there, or other administrative tasks. But to Mrs. Klevens’ credit, she has put me in positions where I can grow as an educator,” Kinzy said. “There are times where she has essentially let me run the class for days by preparing and presenting lectures or leading group discussions or activities. I think, at a selfish level, I’ve gotten a lot out of cadet teaching just by learning myself. I won’t claim to be a particularly strong educator, but it’s definitely something that I’ve improved at a lot and I think the opportunities I’ve had cadet teaching in journalism [have] been a big part of that.”