Before Carmen Scism graduated in 2011 with a History, Social Studies Education (BS) degree, she had committed to teaching for four years as part of her North Carolina Teaching Fellows scholarship. She will likely stay in the classroom a lot longer than that.
“I love teaching,” she said recently after a day of teaching courses in government, civics and economics at Kings Mountain High School in Kings Mountain, N.C.
“I’m going to stay in the education field as long as God allows me to. That (scholarship program) was definitely more than worth it. It was a wonderful experience.”
Scism was one of the state’s last Teaching Fellows. In 2011, the N.C. General Assembly voted to begin phasing out the program. The scholarship meant much more than the money ($26,000) to Scism: She praised her campus-based scholarship director, Jan Stanley, who advised her and other fellows and arranged for additional instruction to prepare them for the classroom.
(Despite the General Assembly’s decision to phase out the Teaching Fellows program, Appalachian has continued the program’s tradition in the form of Appalachian Community of Education Scholars. Stanley is its director.)
In a sense, the scholarship made Scism more marketable: Though her major was history – she’s most interested in America’s Colonial period – she also took courses in economics and political science, subjects that enhanced her understanding of history and fell under the umbrella of social studies courses she would teach at Kings Mountain.
Scism plugs Appalachian professors who were “extremely knowledgeable” and “always willing to go the extra mile” when it came to helping students with their work. One of them was Myra Pennell, a former history instructor in high school, who gave Scism pointers on teaching history as well.