June 25, 2001
Student pursues dream to help children
by Jeanette Knutson
Not every high school junior knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Woodinville High School junior Paige Kanaby is one of the lucky ones: She does.
Thanks to a program called the Teaching Academy hosted by Bothell and Inglemoor high schools, she and about 60 other Northshore juniors and seniors have been finding out what teaching is all about.
Students spent a portion of the school year learning teaching theories. Then internships were awarded. Kanaby's first internship involved working with 20 children in a private school kindergarten.
"All I really did was observe. There was no interaction," said Kanaby.
But her chance for interaction would come. Kanaby's most recent internship was at the Sorenson Early Childhood Center (ECC) in Woodinville. Sorenson ECC is part of the Northshore School District. It is a school for children between the ages of three and five who have developmental disabilities in more than one of five developmental areas ‹ cognitive, communication, motor, social-emotional or adaptive skills.
She has spent three days a week from 12:30 until 2 p.m. working ‹ actually working ‹ in a preschool classroom for autistic children.
Pamela Steele, spokesperson for the Northshore School District, said, "The Teaching Academy is a 2-year program where students are paired with teachers in the field. Students take on increasing reponsibilities in the classrooms [to which they are assigned]."
At the beginning, students only observe, but as they gain experience and confidence, they begin to do more and more in the classroom.
"I love it. I wish I could be there all day long. I want to get a teaching degree, get certified in special education and work [in the field]. I never dealt with kids with special needs before. We're working one-on-one. They're learning new things every day. It's wonderful. I love the kids."
Kanaby explained that they do not concentrate on academics in the Sorenson classroom, at least not while she's there.
"But kids are learning things every day ... making accomplishments, overcoming fears. It's more a social development we work on. We're there to help the kids, to encourage them, to support them," she said.
Next year Kanaby will attend Cascadia Community College full time as part of the statewide Running Start program, whereby juniors and seniors who are anxious to get started on college credits enroll in area colleges and universities. She hopes to find time to volunteer at Sorenson and continue her positive experience there.