At one time, vocational or technical courses were looked down upon in schools. They were considered classes for students who had trouble with traditional subjects. Now we're seeing an increase in career-oriented classes, and it's starting in Cleveland, at the middle school level.
Sixth-graders at Cleveland Middle School are out of their desks, doing some real-life learning and investigating. They're studying infection control, looking for germs on objects around the classroom.
Teacher Ginger Crouch is teaching a pilot class that could soon spread throughout the state of Tennessee. It's the state's first medical science class for middle school students, giving them early options in a challenging career path.
Under the state's new Common Core standards, medical science is an area that provides numerous benefits in one class. It utilizes writing, math, debate and discussion. Still, according to many of the sixth-graders we met, the top attraction involves all things "icky and gross."
Crouch said, "The ickier the better. Sixth-graders are very curious, they don't mind exploring muscle tissue and blood vessels. They ask me why we don't have more of it," she said.
Even at the age of 11, many of the students are already looking at career options, and this class is inspiring them to consider veterinary science, nursing, and emergency medicine. The curriculum flows easily into Cleveland High's medical science program, giving them a head start on college. For now, it gives them a one-of-a-kind class they look forward to each day.
At the end of the school year, the state will evaluate the success of Cleveland Middle's medical science class, which could very well lead to its adoption across Tennessee.