One of the unexpected joys of working at Antioch is our monthly Education Department meeting. I know most people don’t put meetings under the heading of “joys,” but most people don’t work where I work. The people I work with spend an incredible amount of time in the field, supervising student teachers, researching, and meeting with colleagues, so we don’t spend much time together. Our monthly meetings are half family reunion, half professional development and academic sharing (and okay, realistically, probably 20% the same administrivia everyone has to manage). After 13 years here, I’m still learning new stuff about our programs, our students, and my colleagues.
Today, though, I learned something really, really awesome. About a year ago, we launched a new concentration in our Integrated Learning program (our initial certification program for pre-service elementary teachers). It had become really clear to us that beginning teachers everywhere weren’t well prepared to work with students with special needs- or to work well with Special Education teachers in Co-teaching situations, so we reframed our IL program so that all students would be better prepared and those who wished to do so could leave us with dual certification in Elementary and Special Education. We knew this was a good idea, but we’re not naive enough to believe that all good ideas work out as well as we imagine.
In this case, we nailed it. At a time when new teachers are struggling to find jobs, of our dual certification students who wanted to go into the classroom, have positions lined up for the 2015-2016 school year. In fact, even though they finished in December (not usually a great time to pick up a teaching job) many of them were able to start working right away.
Let me say that again.
All of our dual certification graduates who wanted jobs, have jobs.
The teacher of the future needs to be prepared for all the kids coming to us. They need to be facile with all kinds of pedagogies and nimble enough to work in a whole bunch of different structures. I’m pretty jazzed to find out that not only are we creating these kinds of teachers, but that administrators are snapping them up.
Congratulations 2015 Integrated Learning grads.
Welcome to the profession!