If you're considering earning your Master of Arts in Teaching, you might be looking to your friends, family members, professional colleagues, or mentors for advice. Crowdsourcing wisdom and insights can be a great way to determine if entering a graduate program is the best next step for you, but it's important to also seek the advice of those with years of experience in the field.
We polled several of the faculty members in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and asked them to share their advice for an incoming student. Read on to find out what they had to say!
Be present and soak it all in.
"You will take away as much from this program as you are willing to put into it. Come prepared to actively participate, grow your passion, ask lots of questions, observe constantly, network, clean up your social media, stay organized, become a lifelong learner and be flexible so you don't get bent out of shape!
Reflection is the mark of a good teacher. Reflect on all you try and keep records of things you've done in classrooms. We all think we'll never forget our successes, the great ideas we come up with and the things you want to do differently the next time around. However it's easier to forget than you think. So keep notes and records of things you've tried and how they've gone.
Observe as many classrooms as you can. Everyone has their own style. You can see the same lesson taught by 5 different teachers in 5 different ways and you will learn something different from each teachers' style. You will take some ideas and reject others but you ultimately incorporate things you've learned to help you develop your own style. So be a sponge and soak it all up!"
— Bonnie Maur, STEM Director for Farrington College of Education
Build your support network.
"Communication is the key to success. Building ongoing relationships with your classmates, advisor, and faculty will provide you with important sources of information that will take you through graduation and beyond."
— Dr. Antoinette Bruciati, Ph.D., Chair of the Farrington College of Education
Explore every opportunity the program offers.
"For the new candidate in our teacher education programs, take advantage of all that SHU has to offer. From lectures and panel discussions from leading educators in the field, to the education honors society and other organizations for graduate students, SHU and the Farrington College of Education will expand your vision of what it means to teach."
— Dr. James Carl, Ph.D.
"The field of education is rich with opportunities to serve in a variety of ways in public schools. Whether you are interested in being a teacher, administrator, curriculum coach or another role in education, the MAT with initial teacher certification will set you on a path where doors will continue to open for you."
— Dr. Rene Roselle, Ph.D., Director of Teacher Preparation
Embrace the challenges.
"Getting an MAT from SHU gives you a huge advantage to bring the most current changes in education right into your classroom in order to fully challenge each of your students."
— Michael Giarratano, Assistant Director of Teacher Preparation
"Teaching is a challenging but incredibly rewarding career. You want to enter the field with the right tools and knowledge so that you will have a successful experience and be empowered to make a difference. You want to have the best knowledge, theory, and practices possible so that you can thrive in the profession. You don’t want to take a fast track route that leaves you feeling unprepared."
— Dr. Lindsay Keazer, Ph.D.
"This program will be engaging and demanding, but it is well worth it for the knowledge you will walk away with."
— Dr. Jillian Schreffler, Ph.D.
Get started on your graduate degree!
At Sacred Heart University, our faculty members are high-caliber professionals with a wealth of knowledge from their first-hand experiences in the field and in research settings. We hope that their advice has offered you some clarity and support as you consider earning your MAT with Initial Teacher Certification. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us — we'd be happy to help!