Students take classes at the Killeen Independent School District Career center for many reasons.

Some want to become nurses; some want to become cosmetologists. Some want to work as mechanics and others want a career in information technology or video game design.

Others, like Ellison High School senior Jayna Elyce, want to become teachers.

“I love working with kids,” Elyce said. “I enjoy helping them and watching them get excited when they learn new things.”

Elyce is a student in the center’s Education and Training program. Like many of the center’s other programs, it is aimed at giving participating students hands-on skills that will prepare them for college and a career in their chosen field.

“These are students with a passion for education,” said Tina Tamplin, an instructor for the program. “They’ve made the decision to become educators. It’s very inspiring.”

The program has about 25 students and was previously only available to students at two of the district’s four high schools before it moved to the career center.

“Now students from any of those schools can come here for the program,” Tamplin said.

During their time in the program, students learn the skills necessary to become educators. That includes everything from learning curriculum requirements, to planning lessons to classroom management.

“Some students look at what their teachers do, and they think it’s easy,” said Shelby Chandler, another student in the program. “It’s not. There’s a lot of planning and work involved.”

Students learn about working in a classroom and also get to put some of these skills to the test working with teachers in the district’s schools.

“It’s great to get to spend time in a classroom,” said Elyce, who helps at Reeces Creek Elementary School. “You learn a lot, and the kids are always happy to see you.”

Like most of the center’s other career programs, students will have an opportunity to earn college credit or professional certificates by the time they graduate.

In the case of the education and training students, once they complete the program, they will be able to apply for a Level 1 educational aide certification or a child development associate certificate.

Tamplin said she was happy to see young people aspiring to become teachers, and said her students weren’t the only ones benefiting from the program.

“They are really an inspiration to me,” she said. “They’ve helped me become a better educator myself.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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