DOTHAN – DeVonta Butler is at ease in front of a room full of children. On a recent Thursday morning, the Troy University elementary education major led a class of fourth graders in a discussion about the Great Depression, as he introduced the book, A Year Down Yonder.
After working with kindergartners at another Dothan school, Butler is currently student teaching in Ms. Kirkby’s class at Kelly Springs Elementary. It is the 29-year-old’s final graduation requirement before he receives his diploma at the Dothan Civic Center in December.
“Ms. Kirkby has been very good at giving me advice on classroom management,” Butler said. “She has opened her class to me as though it was my classroom.”
Butler is not the first student teacher from TROY mentored by Ms. Kirkby. In fact, over the last twenty-nine years she has repeatedly volunteered to work with pre-service teachers like Butler.
“I volunteer because there was a teacher years ago who was willing to have me in her classroom,” Ms. Kirkby said. “I feel like I need to give back to the next generation of teachers.”
Troy University will say “thank you” to Ms. Kirkby and educators from more than 20 partner school districts on November 27 at 4:30 p.m. with a reception in the Harrison Room on the Dothan Campus. At the same time, the College of Education will unveil its unified Conceptual Framework for the preparation of teacher candidates, administrators and school specialists, according to Dr. Lance Tatum, dean of the TROY College of Education.
“The Conceptual Framework is the philosophy by which we prepare teachers.” Dr. Tatum said. “It is a way to communicate the philosophical foundation of what’s important to the Troy University College of Education and how we prepare pre-service teachers.”
While the teacher education programs on the Troy, Dothan and Montgomery Campuses offer a united curriculum, they are currently separately accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The revised framework will help unify the program philosophically before the College of Education seeks accreditation as a single unit next year.
The guiding principles support everything from the way faculty members interact with their students to the classroom experience at TROY. Dr. Rodney Davis, chair of the Education Department on the Dothan Campus, said the framework speaks to the kind of student TROY aims to prepare.
“We want our students to be innovative, informed and reflective decision makers,” Dr. Davis noted.
Ms. Kirkby said TROY does an excellent job of preparing educators, and she has no doubt that Butler will make an outstanding teacher.
“He has a wonderful rapport with the students,” Ms. Kirkby said, “and he has brought new ideas to my classroom, especially in the area of technology.”
For more information about programs offered through the Troy University College of Education, contact 334-983-6556.