Considering a career as a teacher? Here are 5 things you can expect from University of Phoenix
If you’ve dreamed of a career as a teacher, you’ll need to take specific steps to make your dream a reality.
Here, Becky Lodewyck, associate dean of the University of Phoenix College of Education, who holds a doctorate in education, describes five things you should anticipate when you apply to one of the college’s teacher-preparation programs:
A multiple-step process
Once you’re admitted to the University, you must complete a separate admissions process to become a College of Education student.
While requirements vary by state, this can include a fingerprint clearance and a basic skills exam. The first requirement verifies that you’re eligible to complete clinical experiences in a school. The exam, Lodewyck says, “helps us ensure that students have the foundational knowledge needed to be successful in the classroom.”
Over the course of their degree programs, teacher candidates must participate in a minimum of 100 hours of field work in a real classroom.
“The goal,” Lodewyck says, “is to wade in the water and become acclimated to the requirements of teaching.” A good portion of these hours relates to the course you’re taking, she explains, so a student enrolled in methods of teaching language arts, for example, might tutor or provide instruction for small groups of students in reading or writing.
“We’re looking for specific competencies and skills that candidates must master before entering the profession, such as developing lesson plans and differentiating instruction,” meaning tailoring lessons to your students’ individual skill levels, Lodewyck says.
Compiling a portfolio during the program allows you to demonstrate these skills and competencies through completion of several benchmark assignments. The TaskStream® e-Portfolio tool, a portal where you can store your lesson and unit plans, is what you’ll use to complete these tasks.
Another benefit of the portfolio tool is the ability to showcase the work you create during your program and to save everything you produce to use in your job search. In interviews, Lodewyck notes, your portfolio can be a showcase of everything you’ve accomplished.
Proving your skills as an educator requires more than writing a paper or passing a final exam. “The student teaching experience,” Lodewyck says, “is the capstone of the degree program. Depending on the requirements of the state, you’ll be expected to complete 12 to 15 weeks of full-time student teaching.”
Though you’ll be in control of a real classroom, you’ll also receive feedback from a mentor teacher and a faculty supervisor, Lodewyck points out. And you’ll simultaneously be enrolled in seminar courses that support you throughout your student teaching.
Additional certification requirements
A degree alone isn’t enough for licensure, Lodewyck emphasizes. Candidates must meet current state certification requirements, which may include additional coursework, such as a state constitution course, or passing a state-mandated professional knowledge exam. Every state is different, so check the teacher licensure requirements where you want to teach.
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