A university representative said the placement rate for teachers is 90 percent.
By Maya R Williams
Texas A&M University is reaching out to Alamo Colleges to expand its teacher certification program because of the quality of students and the geographic area, a program coordinator in the teaching, learning and culture department said.
“The quality of students that we get from the Alamo Colleges is very high,” Joseph Sanchez said Feb17 in an interview before speaking to an education class at this college. “For example, every student that came from the Alamo Colleges in fall 2016, every single one of them is still enrolled.”
The university in College Station has the highest graduation, job placement and teacher retention rate in the state for the teacher certification program, Sanchez said.
“Our graduation rate for our transfer students is 96 percent in our program,” he said. “Our job placement rate is over 90 percent.”
“You compare that to some of the other quality schools, like UTA (University of Texas at Austin), have an 82 percent graduation rate for their certification programs, so we’re even above some of those schools.”
Texas A&M also double dips with majors.
“We tend to put multiple certifications together so that way our students have a little bit more versatility,” Sanchez said.
The most in demand teaching areas are bilingual education, special education, math and science.
“If you want a job in teaching and you want to go into math, science, bilingual and special education, not only are you pretty much guaranteed a job, but there’s actual programs that allow you to have your student loans repaid as well,” he said.
Despite those being the most needed positions in teaching, elementary education is the most popular because there are more elementary schools and teachers get to teach more subjects, Sanchez said.
The biggest challenge for schools is “retaining teachers in the first five years,” he said. “Some people have put the retention rate of teachers with in the first five years under 50 percent nationwide.”
Teacher preparation is a reason the nationwide retention rate is so low, he said.
“I think in the state of Texas, for example, the majority of first-year teachers are now not traditionally certified,” he said. “They go through an alternative certification process.”
Since those teachers go through an alternative certification process, they don’t go through the student teaching phase, he said.
They are not “picking up those lessons that come with experience,” he said.
During an EDUC 1301, Introduction to the Teaching Profession, taught by education Coordinator Peggy Weesner, Sanchez discussed what makes Texas A&M University different from other colleges in the Texas A&M system.
The College Station location has multiple degree plans, and it is a Tier 1 academic institution and has over 1,200 student organizations.
Tier 1 academic institutions are universities that are known for world-class research, academic excellence, high standards for admittance and high levels of innovation, creativity and scholarship.
“One of the things that sets up apart at A&M is our traditions. Sanchez said. “We are fundamentally 65,000 students, but every single one of us is family,”
Traditions include the Century Tree and Aggie muster.
The Century Tree was one of the first trees planted on the Texas A&M campus.
It is said that if a couple walks under the Century Tree, they will eventually marry, and if a marriage proposal takes place under the tree, then the marriage will last forever.
Aggie muster was first held June 26, 1883, to honor all Aggies who have passed away.
Texas A&M has nine areas of teacher certification — EC-6 Generalist (elementary education) with an English Sign Language (ESL) endorsement; 4-8 Math and Science Composite with an ESL endorsement; 4-8 Language Arts and Social Studies with an ESL endorsement; EC-6 Bilingual Education with a EC- Generalist and an ESL endorsement; and an EC-12 Special Education with a EC-6 Generalist and ESL Endorsement.
Texas A&M also offers high school certifications in social studies, language arts, math and science.
The university will offer a high school engineering certification in 2018.
Teacher certification students there also will have over 800 hours of field-based training before graduation.
When it comes to tuition and fees, people assume Texas A&M is “prohibitively expensive,” Sanchez said.
According to College For All Texas, Texas A&M ranks No. 5, going lowest to highest, at $9,802 for 30 semester hours,
“Compared to other four-year institutions, we are extremely affordable and extremely competitive,” he said.
The university offers scholarships, financial aid, grants and student loan forgiveness.
Sanchez’s presentation is available at https://prezi.com/v6uha7cqsili/copy-of-tlac-transfer/
For more information on the teacher certification program, visit http://education.tamu.edu/degrees-and-programs/certification-programs.
Students can contact Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-458-2883.
If students have questions about transferring, visit the Transfer and Career Center on the first floor of Moody Learning Center or contact the center at 210-486-1500.
TRAC hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.