Program gives Macomb County students hands-on education experience

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published June 28, 2023

 Allisyn Melcher aids students as part of the Teacher Cadet program, an MISD initiative that allows high school students to get real in-classroom experience alongside teachers.

Allisyn Melcher aids students as part of the Teacher Cadet program, an MISD initiative that allows high school students to get real in-classroom experience alongside teachers.

Photo provided by Dayna Taylor


MACOMB COUNTY — The Macomb Intermediate School District is offering students in several of the county’s school districts the chance to see firsthand if they want to explore a future in education.

Known as the Teacher Cadet program, students go into the classroom to aid teachers in summer school classes. Fraser teacher Dayna Taylor is among the educators who helps run the program in her school district.

“It is a way to explore a profession while having a job where you will be employed for the summer. It is open to incoming 10th graders up to those entering their freshman year of college. There aren’t any other qualifications that they have to meet, but they do have to apply,” said Taylor. “It would be teaching incoming kindergartners to incoming eighth graders in terms of classes they would be sitting in on. They are actively aiding the teacher. They are helping the student in a similar way as a teacher’s aide or a student teacher; writing lesson plans, aiding in class and so forth.”

Adam Sukiennik is a Fraser High School Class of 2023 graduate. He has long had a passion for becoming a teacher but said that the program proved that it was what he wanted to pursue as a career.

“This is my third year doing it,” he said. “Ever since I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher. Hearing about this program sounded like a good way to see what life as a teacher would be like and to see if I really wanted to become a teacher.”

The Teacher Cadet program is designed to give students the full picture of what being a teacher is like.

“They are spending time in the classroom with summer school teachers. This is the third year of the program, and MISD has taken part all three years,” said Taylor. “(It) gives them on-the-job experience during the summer working alongside a contracted teacher. They have staff meetings, go through things we do as teachers and get training by the MISD.”

Sukiennik said he was able to learn a lot and see what it actually took to take on teaching young students as a career.

“From being in the program, I learned the backbone of what being a teacher is like, what their daily routine is like, seeing how students react to teachers’ lessons and how no two students are the same,” he said. “Teachers really have to create many different things for the students for them to succeed.

“Something that surprised me was what being a teacher was all about. The surprising details about what they are in charge of and what they are supervising,” Sukiennik said.

Interested students can explore the MISD website at or ask their local career technical education director or class advisor at their high school if the program is open to them and how to apply.

Taylor believes this program is great because it can both prepare those interested in teaching for what the job will actually be like and prevent others from wasting time and resources only to find out too late that this career path isn’t for them.

“It’s great for students who might not know what they want to do in the future and thought education would be a possibility,” she said. “We’ve heard from cadets that this has helped make their decision, both as a ‘yes’ and as a ‘no’ for their future. Some have realized this isn’t what they would want to do for a career while others have said that this confirmed that it is just as fulfilling as they thought it would be.”

“Whether you want to be a teacher or don’t know what you want to be, it’s great to be able to get out there and see what the life of a teacher is like,” Sukiennik added.

Taylor thinks this opportunity is more important than ever since recent years have shown a trend of there being fewer college students studying to become teachers.

“It helps teachers as a profession because it allows us to grow our own profession and get more younger people interested in education,” said Taylor. “We’re on the verge of a shortage and this helps show them if this is right for them.”

Taylor said the Teacher Cadet program has been gaining traction since its inception three years ago. MISD representatives recently made a presentation about the program to the Michigan Board of Education that was met with great interest.

“On June 13, the MISD was invited to the state Board of Education meeting and they made a presentation to let the state board know about the program,” she said. “The feedback we got from the meeting was very positive. They were pleased to see we were helping out teaching as a profession and providing this resource to students.”

MISD administrators think that while real world experience can do more than look good on a resume, it can provide even greater benefits for students in the long run.

“Ever since I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher and change the lives of students for the better,” Sukiennik said. “This program let me work with students and see where they were from the beginning of the summer and how they grew and to see how I was a part of that was something special. It definitely confirmed my desire to go into teaching. I will be studying elementary education at Wayne State University in the fall.”