Downing helps community and completes student teaching by substitute teaching
- Jessica Basham
- Wednesday, September 15th, 2021
WKU education majors have a long history of student teaching in local schools to gain experience and mentorship as part of their degree. In August, the Kentucky Educational Standards Board approved a waiver to allow substitute teaching to count towards student teaching during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. This semester, nearly 40 Hilltoppers, including Will Downing, are serving as emergency substitute teachers to help 12 local school districts as they navigate through another unusual school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Downing, an Elementary Education major from Bowling Green, is serving as a long-term substitute at Rockfield Elementary in Bowling Green. Downing says he chose to serve as a substitute teacher to gain experience of leading a classroom of students in a long-term experience. “This experience has been an impactful learning opportunity as I prepare for my career in education, and I am extremely grateful for it!”
For Downing, coming to WKU and majoring in education was “an obvious choice” because of the deep ties his family has with the university and the teaching profession. “I chose WKU because it has been a huge part of my life since the beginning! This campus has impacted my life more than I could possibly explain and I knew that I would gain so much from WKU in my college experience. I chose my degree program because I come from a family of educators and have a passion for helping grow the next generations. I was impacted at an early age by educators and have always hoped to have that same impact on children for years to come!”
Downing feels prepared to lead a classroom because of his time in the School of Teacher Education. “I have applied what I have learned in my program through over 200 hours in school systems throughout the Bowling Green community. I have taken what I have learned about growing relationships with students and engaging student learning in each experience I have had.”
As Downing prepares to graduate this December, he says he hopes “to be teaching our future generations and impacting young lives in the classroom after graduation!” Looking back on his time on The Hill, he said, “the best part of my WKU experience has been meeting so many WKU students that have a love for the Hill and a passion for impacting society. This has been the best part, because I have grown from meeting people that have similar passions as I do. I have loved every minute of my campus experience as a Hilltopper.”
For more information about student teachers serving as emergency substitute teachers, contact Stephanie Martin at email@example.com. For more information about the Elementary Education major and the School of Teacher Education at WKU, visit wku.edu/ste.