New Program to Train Teachers of Tomorrow
Beginning in June, aspiring teachers will be trained at Oberlin in a new graduate-level teacher education program. The program, which is accepting applications through the first part of January, will open with an inaugural class of ten students.
The year-long program, officially called the Graduate Teacher Education Program, will initially accept students wanting to study early and middle childhood education, and then expand the following year to include high school teacher education. Eventually, the program will accommodate a total of 20 students, plus a number of music education students.
Director Deborah Roose said that participants will complete 40 semester credits at the College, while teaching three or four days each week in a classroom in an Oberlin public school. “We want this to be rigorous,” said Roose at an information session in Wilder on Monday night.
Classes are tentatively scheduled to begin on June 18. Over the summer, students will complete two four-week sessions, followed by two semesters of instruction where program students will simultaneously take classes at the College and teach in city schools. Three and a half days each week will be spent in the Oberlin public school classrooms during the fall semester, and four and a half days each week the spring semester. “[Students] will be in public schools most of the day, and in the Oberlin College classroom most of the evening,” said Roose.
GTEP Site Coordinator Kathy Jaffee said that the partnership with the Oberlin public school district is unusual for a teacher education program. “I don’t know of any other programs with this kind of partnership,” she said. She noted that the close integration assists both the student-teachers and city students because the program will place more adults in classrooms.
“There’s going to be a lot more ability to differentiate learning in the classroom,” Jaffee continued. City teachers who are mentoring graduate students in GTEP will also receive professional education from the program.
“The children are going to benefit all the way around,” she said.
The program’s tuition is currently estimated to be $23,000 per year. Financial aid is expected to be available, though Director of Financial Aid Rob Reddy said that it is unclear whether the College will be able to meet all demonstrated need.
Associate Dean Patty deWinstanley said Monday, “The idea is [that] there will be some amount of financial aid on a need basis.” She added that GTEP will have a need-blind admissions policy.
Students seeking admission must submit scores from the Graduate Entrance Exam and one or two PRAXIS II series tests, depending on the type of teaching license a student wishes to pursue. Roose said that these content tests were necessary because subject-specific content will not be covered in the program. “We are a graduate program; we want to know that you know your content [before matriculation],” Roose said.
At Monday’s meeting, administrators indicated that much about the program, including faculty appointments, was still uncertain. However, they said that the College will be hiring at least one tenure track faculty member for the program. Other faculty positions may be filled by adjuncts from Oberlin’s public schools.
Some at the meeting Monday night were surprised by the small size of the program. College senior David Wessels said, “It’s not as many as I expected,” but added, referring to the ten spaces initially open for Oberlin students, “I don’t know how many people will want to do this. I don’t know what that number means.”
Katy Reid, a mother living in Oberlin and a College alumna, was also considering the program. “It would be great if it were here in my backyard,” Reid said. She was also excited about the support the program could give to Oberlin’s public schools.
“Anything that brings quality [College] students into city schools would really be a plus,” she said.