Q. Why should I want to be a teacher?
A. What teachers do and say will be absorbed by young minds who will echo those images across the ages. A good teacher awakens interest and kindles enthusiasm. A good teacher teaches children to see the vitality and worthiness of themselves. A good teacher encourages students to marvel, to question and to seek answers. A good teacher inspires tomorrow’s scientists, poets, government leaders, artists, businessmen and those everyday citizens who make our world a place of wonder. If you want to make a difference, become a teacher.
Q. What are the requirements for entering the teacher education program?
A. In order to enroll in the first education course, students must meet the requirements of Portal I: Admission to Foundations Core.
Q. Is there an application process to get into teacher education?
A. Before scheduling the first education course, EDUC 250, students must meet with an adviser in the Department of Teacher Education in Polk Hall. Advisers are assigned by curriculum areas and sometimes by the first letter of the student’s last name. The list is posted around Polk Hall. When students meet with their adviser, they should complete an Application for Entry to Teacher Education form, and their adviser must complete a Verification of Eligibility form. Advisers will provide the forms for students, and both forms must be signed when completed. (NOTE: Students who entered any University of Louisiana System of Higher Education after Summer 2005 must pass Praxis I as a prerequisite to enter EDUC 250. An ACT composite score of 22 can be substituted for Praxis I. Learn more about Praxis.)
Q. What is Praxis?
A. Praxis Series Assessments provide tests and other services that states use as part of their teaching licensing certification process. For teacher certification in Louisiana, education candidates must pass Praxis I and Praxis II. An ACT composite score of 22 or higher can be substituted for Praxis I. Learn more about Praxis.
Q. How long does it take to get a degree?
A. On average candidates complete the degree in seven to 10 semesters (depending on whether they attend summer sessions and carry a minimum of 15 hours per semester).
Q. I’m thinking of changing careers. Does the teacher education program welcome nontraditional candidates?
A. Nontraditional candidates are truly welcomed. All candidates are treated fairly and with respect.
Q. What is certification?
A. Certification is what allows you to teach. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in each state creates the requirements for certification. Every congressional district elects a member to sit on the board. Universities create curricula that fulfill the requirements set forth.
Q.What if I only want to teach a particular grade level?
A. Many candidates want to teach a certain grade; however, in reality you must be certified to teach a range of grades. This increases your marketability when applying for your first job. Once you get your foot in the door, you will be able to transfer into the grade you prefer. After visiting and teaching in the schools during field experiences, candidates often realize that they might enjoy teaching a different grade than they first thought.
Q. What if I want more than one certification?
A. Job opportunities are increased by having more than one certification. You can earn additional certifications by completing the courses required or by successfully passing the Praxis II Subject Assessment for a specific subject area.
Q. Do I need to maintain a certain GPA for the teacher education program?
A. Yes, specific grade point averages are required to enter into and exit the education program. A GPA of 2.2 is required to enroll in the first block of education courses (EDUC 250, EDUC 251 and EDUC 252). A GPA of 2.5 is required to enroll in the second education block (EDUC 312, EDUC 317), to enroll in student teaching and to exit the program.
Q. Is the Nicholls State University College of Education accredited?
A. Yes. The college is nationally accredited by NCATE, state accredited by the State Department of Education and has an exemplary rating from the Board of Regents. The next accreditation visit from NCATE and the state will be in Fall 2008.
Q. What is NCATE?
A. NCATE stands for National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education. NCATE is the professional accrediting organization for schools, colleges and departments of education in the United States. NCATE accreditation responds to the public’s expectation that colleges of education produce teachers and other school specialists who meet rigorous standards and who can help students learn. To achieve accreditation under NCATEâ€™s standards, universities and colleges must offer intellectually rigorous programs which are relevant to the needs of today’s classrooms.
Q. What are teacher education professional seminars?
A. Informational non-credit seminars are strategically placed throughout the program. The undergraduate seminars are EDUC 252, EDUC 317, EDUC 369 and EDUC 405. Each seminar is scheduled with other designated education courses. The seminars are held periodically throughout the semester to provide pertinent program information and allow students to participate in discussions about topics of interest (such as Praxis, portfolios, reflections, etc.).
Q. Is there a dress code to be in the teacher education program?
A. Yes. Professional attire is required when completing all field experiences (visiting schools). You are a reflection of Nicholls and are expected to be professional at all times. You are not required to wear professional attire to classes.
Q. What are field experiences?
A. All education courses require you to visit schools to complete different assignments. A field experience coordinator assigns all candidates to schools within Region III. Schools are designated as partner schools, and teachers are considered partner teachers. Not all schools are in the program; therefore, you are not allowed to choose your schools. Additionally, before finishing the program you must have diverse experiences (different grade levels, cultures, ethnic groups, etc.).
Q. What are portfolios, and when are they due?
A. Portfolios are collections of artifacts that document your progress (knowledge, skills and dispositions) throughout the program. You will submit two portfolios before completing the program. The first one is submitted the semester prior to student teaching and must receive a rating of acceptable or target. The second one is submitted during the student teaching semester and must receive a rating of acceptable or target.
Q. What is student teaching?
A. During the last semester of your program, you will spend one semester in a classroom setting under the supervision of an experienced, qualified teacher. During the semester, you will get the opportunity to practice teaching for a minimum of 180 hours. In addition to your supervising teacher, university coordinators periodically observe your teaching to provide guidance and assistance when needed. Learn more about student teaching.
Q. Do I get to choose where I want to student teach?
A. No. You are allowed to choose the area where you will student teach but not the school. The director of student teaching will place you as close to your home as possible. You are not allowed to student teach where family members are working (as teachers, secretary, janitor, etc.) or where your children attend school.
Q. What is the Admission and Retention Committee?
A. The Admission and Retention Committee monitors the progress of all candidates as they progress through the program. Candidates who do not meet the requirements (interviews, portfolios, etc.) are referred to the committee to receive suggestions for improvements. Additionally, faculty members refer candidates exhibiting unprofessional behavior to the committee. A Professional Growth Plan is developed with the committee to ensure that you are able to successfully complete the program.