Grooming Teachers: Hancock principal offers MTU students glimpse into future teaching careers

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock Principal Ezekiel Ohan was the guest speaker last week at Teachers of Tomorrow, a Michigan Technological University student organization. He told his audience what the future of education can look like once it is in their hands.

HOUGHTON — Hancock Schools Principal Ezekiel Ohan was the guest speaker at Michigan Technological University’s student organization, Teachers of Tomorrow, an organization of students made up of education majors on campus.

“For you guys to pull together and meet,” Ohan said, “and talk about things that probably are not in your teacher education program is something that is remarkable.”

Among the topics covered were lesson plans, curriculum, classroom constitutions, classroom management and assessments, as well as some of the fears first-year teachers might have when going into the classroom for the first time.

Ohan explained they will face challenges they were not prepared for in college, and that is to be expected.

There are teaching strategies they will discover in the classroom, he said — strategies they will come up with one student at a time.

“You get to go ahead and create your signature,” Ohan said. “You don’t get that in teachers’ ed, and that’s one of the things that really disappoints. Current teachers, current administrators, current counselors — when you push out your first crop of graduates, do they meet the requirements of college? Are they (career)-ready?”

Good teachers, he said, will be invited to move into administrative work, and they will have to make a decision: remain in the classroom and teach, or move up and make decisions that will affect the common good of the entire school.

“If you jump into the world of education to serve a self-interest,” Ohan cautioned, “then I would say don’t jump in. Once you get to that point, you really have to choose the common good.”

A good administrator can recognize a good teacher, Ohan said, because as administrators, they were once good teachers themselves.

“Put that teacher where that teacher can shine,” Ohan said. “You have to be a great teacher in order to have that capability. I see people that want to get on the bus, and that’s fantastic, because what you’re putting out there is a ‘we thing.’ It’s not a ‘me thing,’ and as an administrator, you know it’s real, and people believe you, because you’re a good administrator. The student believes you.”

While people want to get on that bus, a good administrator must know where to seat those teachers, he said.

Changes in education have to come from the people of tomorrow, Ohan said.

“And that’s you guys. You guys are the tomorrow people,” Ohan said. “That’s exactly who you are, and the sooner you recognize that, the sooner I, expect, you’ll be walking through the doors at Hancock Central High School and Hancock Middle School and the elementary school (as guests in the classrooms).”