- Sponsorship -

Teacher Cadet Feels ‘Super Legit’

Tomer Adnegeko admits he used to think teaching at the elementary level would be way easier than middle and high school. But having spent three days a week this school year helping in a classroom that cycles 45 first-graders in just over an hour, “I now have a totally different perspective,” he said.

Tomer, a senior at the high school, is a teacher cadet this year. Having learned Spanish and English at the same time in kindergarten, the Israel native’s fluency made him a perfect choice for Breton Downs, said Spanish teacher Katie Vicente.

“He’s super helpful,” Vicente said, “and man oh man, does he connect with the kids.”

Case in point: Tomer is two steps outside during recess when a group of girls shouts “Tomer!” and a first-grader named Isaac scrambles up to claim the high-schooler’s identification tag.

“That’s like, a thing, to get to wear my name tag while I’m here,” Tomer says with a laugh. But he gets to feel cool sometimes too, he admits.

“It used to be, ‘What would elementary kids care what I have to say?’ But they look to me like I’m the person who has the answers.

“And it feels super legit to get to write in the grade book.”

A Calling

Teacher cadets spend two days a week in class with Christine Aardema,  adviser to the program, where they learn about the role of teachers and study topics in education. They also hear from district administrators, and examine classroom and instruction strategies.

Since about three weeks into the school year, the current class of 25 seniors fan out three days a week to the district’s three elementary and middle schools. They are paired with a teacher and spend time leading class activities, preparing lesson plans, making copies and helping to prepare lesson materials.

“It’s really cool to see the cadets take ownership of their students, and to see how they grow throughout the year,” Ardema says.

Aardema, who is in her second year leading cadets, is herself a former EGR teacher cadet. The 2009 graduate said she knows of at least two other current EGR teachers who were cadets.

Her mother, Jan, has been a paraprofessional at the district since Aardema was in fourth grade, and her father is an attorney. Teaching and law were the only two choices she considered for her own career path, she said, and teaching won out “because of the kids. And I love that every day is different.”

Back when she was a cadet, most went on to become teachers, Aardema said.

“I think now some of them take it because they want to go into working with children somehow, from school psychologist to pediatrician. Or they just really enjoy being with kids.”


Students Learn Early if Teaching is for Them

A Pipeline from K-12 to College

- Sponsorship -
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


‘Hope on the horizon’ as local teachers start getting COVID-19 vaccine

Lincoln School special education teacher, Ann Post believes there is 'hope on the horizon' for Kent ISD teachers and educators across Kent County after receiving her first round of the COVID-19 vaccine...

Sisters land grant to help those who ‘aren’t as lucky as we are’

Sisters at Page Elementary researched and wrote a grant to help homeless kids at Family Promise of Barry County...

Virtual counseling office offers ‘one-stop’ services

The site offers new ways for students to connect, on anything from academic questions to mental health issues...

Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Letters to a tribal cousin show understanding of indigenous peoples

Teacher Brett Scheidel has assigned the activity for at least a decade...

‘Soul of Northview’ Says Students Are the Reward

Ted Burba, a longtime and beloved teacher for Northview Public Schools who retired this fall, died early this week after a long illness. In tribute to his lasting legacy, School News Network republishes this profile of Mr. Burba that originally ran in 2016 to honor his 50th year of teaching...

Filmmaker, engineer, future rocket-builder: it’s all about creativity

Xiangyu Chen says his twin passions -- filmmaking and all things science, technology, engineering and math-related -- draw upon similar principles...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU