Each November, students from the the SPC Dental Hygiene Associate Degree program participate in the Great American Teach In as part of their Community Dental Health course. This course focuses on the oral health care and education of a population with an emphasis on dental hygiene sciences.
The 34 students presented at ten different schools in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. They spoke to over 450 students, ranging from kindergarten up to 11th grade. Each group of SPC students was responsible for creating lesson plans appropriate to the grade level they chose. The common goal was to advocate for their soon-to-be profession and give information about what a Dental Hygienist does, the type of education needed, and possible workplace options in both private and public healthcare sectors. Daily oral health instructions and guidance on smart food choices were also included in the presentations and customized to the classrooms’ educational and understanding levels. The AS students brought vivid poster boards to help illustrate main ideas, had question and answer segments to illicit audience participation, and employed hands-on activities so that little hands could mimic what they were taught. Power point presentations were presented for the older audiences.
Sophomore Marina Funke spoke to a second grade class, and believed she and her group made a difference that day.
“The teachers and students were interested in what my group had to say about dental health, which made it that much more fun,” Funke said. “Hopefully the children will incorporate what we spoke to them about into their daily routines.”
Another student, Lela Miller, presented to 100 fourth graders. She said she enjoys community service.
“Being able to go out into our communities and educate children on how to properly care for their teeth is so very important and feel honored to be part of it,” Miller said. Once out of school, I would love to donate a portion of my time on a regular basis to continue serving my community. It is such a great feeling to help others.”