Photo by Michael Joyner, via WRAL.
SPRING LAKE, N.C. -- What was supposed to be a class biology experiment turned into kids sharing needles at a North Carolina high school.
According to WRAL-TV, Former Harnett County Schools teacher Miyoshi McMillan gave her high school students a lab kit to test blood types.
The students became curious about their own blood types.
McMillan allowed students to use lancing needles to prick their own fingers. She says after using the needles, students wiped them with alcohol swabs so the next class could use them.
By the end of the day, McMillan was out of a job.
McMillan was a first-year teacher and part of the lateral entry teaching program. Many of the school districts in the Triad area have special programs designed to give support and resources to new teachers. Some even assign more experienced teachers to mentor the newer teachers.
The lateral entry program makes it easier for people who chose a different career path to become teachers. For example, a professional musician might decide to become a music teacher. Individuals must have an undergraduate degree. Next, the state gives the individual a provisional teaching license. Then, the individual must connect with a college or university to take education courses.
Greensboro College works with about 20 to 30 Lateral Teaching candidates every year.
"It's been in response to the needs of particular communities. There's also sometimes some thinking about the content expertise that someone has as a result of having majored in biology or majored in music," Rebecca Blomgren, Director of Greensboro College Teacher Education Program, said. However, Blomgren added, "Just because you know your content doesn't mean that you know how to teach your content." That's why Blomgren says the programs at colleges are so important.
Greensboro College Associate Education Professor Susan Connelly said, "What we hear a lot is that people are interested in giving back. They're interested in a career in which they feel like they're making a difference in the lives of children and in our future...Teachers need to be able to make informed decisions about what they will teach and how they will teach and then evaluate the outcomes of lessons."
The basic idea is to encourage professionals to consider the classroom. At Greensboro College, 84 percent of the people who complete the program are still teaching four years later.
WFMY News 2 reached out to the State Department of Instruction to find out just how many lateral entry teachers are in our schools. We're still waiting to hear back.