By NK Medani, Senior Accounting Major and Public Relations Minor
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, I interviewed Noelle Haskell, a USF senior in the Dual Degree Teaching Prep program and learned more about her experiences in the program and her plans for after graduation.
(Noelle Haskell, student in the Dual Degree Teaching Prep program)
She chose to enroll in the Dual Degree Teaching Preparation program because it provided an accelerated, rigorous education leading to a bachelor’s and master’s degree, as well as a preliminary California teaching credential. As part of this unique “four plus one” model, students complete graduate-level courses as undergraduates and work in the field alongside mentor teachers throughout the program. She prefers this to studying two to three additional years after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
The most prevalent skills she has learned while in the program have been social awareness and patience. It is a very overwhelming environment to learn in with practices and theories. She says being more socially aware through interpersonal communication has helped her combat daily social inequalities and educate kids and others about these ideals. Additionally, a teacher in a class of kindergarteners needs to be able to take a step back, gather patience, and analyze the situation to best meet the needs of the environment and the students in that space.
She talked about the experiences she has had so far in college involving teaching. Undergraduate students are required to have 90 hours of field work for kindergarten to second grade and third to fifth grade. Students are not in charge of the full classroom; they act as teacher’s assistants. She had a class last semester for kindergarten and currently volunteers there. She also currently teaches a fifth grade class twice a week at Rooftop Alternative school. In fieldwork, students teach at one private school and one public school to complete the 90-hour requirement. Students get a one-on-one experience with the kids and learn about them beyond the classroom. The student’s graduate year consists of two semesters of student teaching. The first semester includes nine hours per week in the classroom leading additional lessons and taking a full teacher role. The second semester consists of full-time teaching each week and curriculum work at night. Students create a full teaching agenda and have full control over the curriculum.
In her opinion, fieldwork classes are most valuable and memorable. Fieldwork allows her to reflect on her experiences and get first-hand knowledge from the professors who have been in the same situation and how they overcame their conflicts, and they are able to provide effective advice on how to proceed. She said, “You can’t help every student, but, with the skills I learned, I can do my best to meet the needs of every student I encounter.”
Her career plan for post graduation is to immediately go into teaching her own class. To get her teaching credentials, she will teach a normal classroom for at least two years. She has aspirations of teaching abroad in a few years. She said that she did not have to worry too much about a plan after graduation once she got in the program because the program is very structured and creates opportunities to teach after the completion of the program. While currently in her senior year, she believes that this program has prepared her for post graduation. People in the program are very prepared with experiences and knowledge for what is coming in their teaching careers. There is also a mentor program that guides students and gives them the resources and confidence to be independent and learn skills to be successful teachers.
Noelle’s suggestion for students interested in a career path in teaching is to take the “Introduction to Teaching” course. Students get a basic idea of teaching without the big commitment, and they see a school setting and how a teaching program works. She said, “It is not the easiest career path to follow, but it is truly one of the most rewarding because you get to directly make a positive impact in others’ lives.”
For more information about the program and how to enroll, visit the program’s website here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.