A teacher should start every day fresh.

“Every day is a new day,” said Michelle Simone, a first-grade teacher at Dr. James Craik Elementary School for more than 15 years. “You should be welcoming and respectful, have compassion and positivity for sure. You also have to be well planned, always thinking ahead and not be afraid to fail.”

It’s advice students in the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) Career and Technology Education program can glean from working in classrooms with seasoned teachers, according to a school system news release.

TAM is offered in all Charles County public high schools to introduce students interested in careers in child development, education and social work to the fields, according to the release. TAM students learn human growth and development in 10th grade and teaching as a profession in their junior year. During their senior year, students learn foundations of curriculum and instruction, and participate in an internship.

Students at Henry E. Lackey High School catch a bus to Maurice J. McDonough High School to take TAM classes from Karen Rowledge. Her students help out in McDonough classrooms, Matthew Henson Middle School and at Craik.

Alexis Bourassa is a McDonough senior whose mother, Stacy, a Craik kindergarten teacher, inspired her decision to go into the profession. “I’ve always looked up to her,” Alexis Bourassa said in the release. “And just seeing how my teachers are with students.”

Lackey senior Stephon Sullivan is still undecided if he’ll study education in college, but he enjoys helping out in McDonough’s adaptive Life Skills gym classes. “It’s underrated,” Sullivan said of the TAM program. “A lot of good can come from it. I get to work with kids and help others.”

Rowledge’s students have something in common. “They’re willingness to try, and try something new,” she said. “They have that willingness to try something that might not be on their radar.”

And some come back. “I wouldn’t consider going into education without TAM,” said Maggie Hayes, a Life Skills instructional assistant at McDonough who graduated from the school in 2015. “TAM opened my eyes. It changed my life.”

Some colleges including Coppin State, Stevenson, Bowie State, Morgan State, Frostburg State, Salisbury and Towson universities, Hood and McDaniel colleges, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the College of Southern Maryland accept TAM credits, according to the release. Some of the schools offer scholarships to TAM students.

Career and Technial Education programs include those in arts, media and communication; business management and finance; construction and development; consumer services, hospitality and tourism; health and biosciences; human resource services; information technology; manufacturing, engineering and technology; and transportation technologies. Go to https://www.ccboe.com/cte/index.php to learn more.