Teacher Cadet Pen Pals

Kaya Perry, Author

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The Teacher Cadet program is a class at Carolina Forest that allows students to learn the values of teaching and gain leadership skills. It helps them build a background for future teaching careers or leadership positions. Although not all students who take this class become teachers, they leave the class with valuable lessons that can be used later in life.

The students were excited when Mrs. Twigg announced a pen pal letter activity with Mrs. Lindsay Riffle’s 2nd grade class from Ocean Bay Elementary. After writing a few letters, the Teacher Cadets were ecstatic when they discovered they would eventually be meeting their journal buddies.

There are various topics that the Teacher Cadets discuss with their pen pals. They ask each other questions about what’s going on in school, holidays, their interests, and they tell each other what’s going on in their lives.

Right before Halloween, Mrs Twigg and Mrs. Riffle arranged for their students to finally meet in person. Some of the students have experienced with activities like this, but for others, this activity opened a new door in their lives.

One reason Mrs. Riffle wanted to start this writing project was for her students to become better writers.

“My students will gradually improve their writing, in language and grammar skills, and I’m hoping the high school students might gain some valuable experience understanding the developing writing skills of elementary students,” said Riffle.

Each student shared a different story about meeting their pen pal. There was a student who felt the situation was a bit of a challenge, whereas another actually recognized her pen pal before they were introduced. Many of the Cadets knew that they felt a connection between their writing buddies as soon as they met.

“It was so exciting. My buddy brought me Rice Krispies and wrote me another letter before she even had to. We took lots of pictures, and she gave me the tightest hug when I had to leave. I almost cried,” said Kaysa Ruiz about meeting her pen pal, Madeliene.

This activity left the students with a memory that will last a lifetime. It helped the Teacher Cadets communicate and learn more about younger children. This activity may become a factor in what type of teaching position the students want to obtain when they’re older by giving them an idea of what it’s like to work with younger children.

You don’t have to be in the Teacher Cadet program to participate in an activity like this. Many of the Teacher Cadet students encourage that English classes try to start writing activities with elementary or middle school students. They believe that it’s a great way to connect with younger generations, teach the children to write letters, and allow the children to interact with high school students.

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