GaTAPP candidate, Caleb Land, recently won Teacher of the Year at Utopian Academy for the Arts in Clayton County. Land is passionate about seeing the students succeed and works to come up with creative solutions to close the achievement gap. He loves to help his fellow teachers learn to use technology to aid with classroom instruction.
“I love the people and I love when I see our students succeed,” says Land. “Whether in one of their passions like the arts, or when they succeed in an area of Social Studies they thought was boring before they got to my class. I also love when we get into a good, unplanned discussion about a topic the students care about.”
Land says GCSA’s GaTAPP program helped in immeasurable ways. As part of the program, he learned classroom management techniques, how to differentiate instruction and successfully function in a school environment. GaTAPP is a performance-based, job-embedded alternative teacher preparation program that allows educators to earn an induction and professional teaching certificate.
Land just finished his third year at Utopian Academy for the Arts. He describes Utopian, a public charter school authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission, as a “special place.”
“Our name reflects the high standards we have for ourselves in what we are striving to create,” says Land. “The vision of our founder, Dr. Artesius Miller, to establish a Charter School in Clayton County, to provide a global and arts-integrated education of the highest standards to a population of students without that option, is really what makes Utopian unique. We have a close-knit group of teachers who are willing to roll with the punches of working in a unique environment.”
Prior to becoming a teacher, Land worked in ministry for 10 years after completing college. During that time, he had the opportunity to teach elective classes at a local school and work as a community coach.
“I loved it and saw my same desire to impact the lives of young people in positive ways fulfilled,” said Land. “I was hooked and that was when I started investigating GaTAPP.”
Land says Utopian Academy for Arts and Georgia Charter Schools Association have given him the support and flexibility he needs to pursue his passion for teaching.