BY TODD MARTIN
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
KISD Career Center education students looking to make teaching their career advanced to national competition and one won a national title.
Lance Dugger, a senior planning to study education at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, won the top Future Educators Association award in the category of Electronic Portfolio.
Dugger combined with seniors Alana Lowes and Keyauna Billups to finish in the top 10 in Public Service Announcement category with a video promoting their own education program.
Three other entries advanced to the Future Educators Association National Conference in the categories Ethical Dilemma, Service Project and Exploring Administrative Careers.
Career Center education teacher Tina Tamplen said it was her first time to take students to the national event. “I am proud of them,” she said. “It took them weeks to prepare and the criteria is different from the state to the national level so they had to align with the national guidelines.”
Dugger’s individual first-place project was an electronic portfolio he prepared like a job application with resume, sample lesson plan, classroom management and discipline plans and a synopsis of education theory.
He gave a seven-minute presentation to a panel of judges, defending his project, essentially selling his credentials as if he were a candidate for a teaching position.
“Awe and disbelief” is the way Dugger said he responded when he found out he won the competition. “It’s amazing. I easily put weeks of work into it — a lot of late nights.”
As the three local students who combined for a top-10 finish and a championship talked about their efforts, they also talked about completing two years of fieldwork with Killeen Independent School District teachers and being a part of the first class to finish two years at the KISD Career Center.
“I have my experience at the field site to thank (for the first-place finish),” Dugger said of his time working alongside first-grade teachers last year and third-grade teachers this year at Reeces Creek Elementary School.
“Those two teachers and my students influenced my philosophy and made me a stronger teacher and a stronger student.”
Education students in the practicum course work alongside teachers at Reeces Creek or Iduma Elementary schools as assistants. Students get a chance to design and teach a lesson. They also sit in on meetings and gain insight into the details of paperwork and data as well as the joy of interacting with peers and students.
For Dugger, inspiration to teach began at Nolanville Elementary School with his kindergarten teacher Ms. Fisher. He considered other fields, but once he entered the Career Center and Tamplen’s education courses, he confirmed his place.
“I found that I excelled at it and I loved the environment,” he said. “I think it’s powerful that you can mold the future. You really have the power to make a difference. Teachers teach all the professions. This is where my passion lies and the fire will only grow.”
Reeces Creek third-grade teachers Regina Beard and Amanda Pacheco watched Dugger’s growth in their classrooms this year. They praised his strong willingness to learn and his patience with their students.
“He wants to learn,” Beard said. “He can sit with them and give assistance. He is patient. It is like having a teacher assistant. He can transition them. He gets our centers ready. He observes and he steps right in.”
Pacheco said class time goes so quickly that a helper needs to see what’s needed. “He will ask ‘what can I do’ or ‘I see this.’ He can cut and organize. He wants to be hands-on and he is great at watching the kids and keeping them in line.”
Both teachers said Dugger impressed them with his inquisitive nature about preparing the details of individual lessons, how best to work out a math problem or present information on a graph for a third-grader.
“Lance soaks it up,” Pacheco said. “He saves me time. He can stand with confidence.”
“I am so proud to see the growth in Lance, Keyauna and Alana during the past two years,” Tamplen said. “This is what teaching is all about to equip students and allow them the chance to apply their knowledge, skills and creativity. I look forward to the day they graduate college and return to KISD as teachers.”