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Mother, son students share THS hallways

Kelly McGetrick is a student teacher while son Ian is a freshman at THS
by: Barbara Sherman, LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON – George Fox University graduate student Kelly McGetrick doesn’t really teach her son Ian at THS, but they both have homework to do.

TIGARD - Tigard High School freshman Ian McGetrick sees his friends as he passes through the hallways during breaks between classes, but unlike other students, he is just as apt to see his mother.

Nope, mom Kelly isn't spying on him - she's a 'student' at THS too.

Actually, Kelly is a graduate student at George Fox University doing the student teaching requirement for her master of arts in teaching degree at THS.

Because she was assigned to THS, she can drive Ian to school in the mornings as well.

'When she told me she was going to be student teaching here, I wasn't so sure,' Ian said. 'But it's kind of cool, because if I forget my lunch money, I can get it from her. My friends think it's cool, but I don't really care.'

Ian's friend, freshman Brian Kerr, agreed, 'She's cool.'

Kelly, who is student teaching in Sue Suttich's business and sports marketing classes, noted that since she works with 140 students, 'I have many of Ian's friends.'

Ian added, 'Actually, it will be sad when she leaves,' to which Kelly replied, 'He probably said that because I'm going to Tualatin High School in January.'

Kelly admits that she was nervous before starting at THS in August.

'I didn't want to be in my son's back pocket, but it has not been a problem,' she said. 'There are 2,000 students here, and he will take the class I'm teaching in the spring. But I have had contact with his friends. I enjoy seeing them - it was nice to see familiar faces.'

Kelly, 44, who also has sons at Alberta Rider Elementary and Fowler Middle School with her husband Dan, has a degree in marketing and business from Oregon State University.

She worked in the business world for 15 years and then operated her own interior design business for several years 'with the thought that I would eventually pursue this career.'

Kelly enrolled at George Fox in January and will graduate in April, just when school districts start looking for new teachers for the following year. As a George Fox student, she attends classes Wednesdays and some Saturdays plus she takes online classes.

'I didn't get the summer off,' Kelly said.

Kelly, who is one of 17 in her class taking an accelerated program, noted that she brings a lot of real-world experience to her teaching.

'It's important to connect with the students and show them how school relates to real life,' she said. 'I've applied all the concepts, and I have a lot of contacts in business. I've brought in guest speakers, and I can tell them in advance what they need to share with the kids. High school teachers must be experts in their fields, but they also must connect with their kids.

'It's important to have strong, motivated high school teachers. You have to prove yourself at the high school level and earn their respect. The kids have been really great.'

Kelly credits Suttich with showing her how to manage her classes.

'I've learned so much from her,' she said. 'That's something a book cannot teach you. High school kids will take a little advantage of you if you let them.'

Suttich praised Kelly, joking that she is not only her first student teacher but also her best one so far.

'I would have been nervous about getting a 23-year-old student teacher,' Suttich said. 'It would have been a lot of work. But Kelly has been great. It's easy for the kids to see her as a teacher unlike someone only a few years older than they are.

'She's aware of what the kids are doing and has an insider's view from being the parent of a student. Most teachers don't get that experience. She also knows what the kids are going through.'

Kelly's student teaching at THS was supposed to end next week, but the experience has been so positive that she is staying on until December.

'They have a great staff here,' Kelly said. 'They are friendly and upbeat. Everyone was so welcoming. I feel lucky to be in my position and have this experience.'

Her student teaching has also had a positive influence at home.

'My kids have seen me do homework,' Kelly said. 'They ask if I need to use the computer, and they're very thoughtful if they know I have a big paper due or a test. 'How did you do?' they'll ask. I'm modeling good study habits - most parents don't get a chance to do that. All my sons' friends have heard me say, 'I've got homework to do.''

Kelly, who has long been a volunteer in her children's schools, added, 'I am anxious to be a certified teacher.'