Education concentrations offer alternate pathway to career in secondary education

The School of Education offers a focus on a variety of majors. Grace Everett Photographer

Jenna Fitzgerald | Copy Editor

Although they have little-known opportunities in school education, educational concentrations give students majoring in biology, medical sciences, history, and mathematics an alternative path to a career in secondary education.

Educational concentrations, which are similar to minors and require 31 additional course hours, allow students studying one of these four major content areas to supplement their degree with not only pedagogical instruction but also practical classroom experience as a teacher and intern.

Dr Susan Nesmith, deputy dean of the undergraduate program, said one of the biggest benefits of educational concentrations is that by offering an alternative to the traditional major, they allow more students to learn about and pursue secondary education.

“We want people who are interested in education – either“ I want to teach young children ”or“ I want to share my love, passion and experience in this content with others ”or“ It was a teacher who interested me in chemistry; I would like to do it for the youth, ”Nesmit said.

Dr Madelon McCall, coordinator of the secondary education program, said there are several reasons why students may focus on education rather than major. While some may want to study their chosen area of ​​content in more depth, others may realize later in their college careers that they want to continue their education without having to extend their undergraduate time.

“Baylor’s students are often involved in working with middle and high school students and understand how fun it is to help shape these young lives and decide,‘ You know what? I like the content. I love children. What work can I do to combine these two passions? ” McCall said. “And training is one such option.”

No matter what forces students to choose a concentration over a major, McCall said those who stand in the way of becoming teachers are united in their desire to serve.

“Baylor’s students are very missionary, so they want to serve, and they’re finding that the best way to serve is to be a teacher,” McCall said. “In fact, there are no other career opportunities to touch a student’s life every day of the week. Even pastors and youth ministers do not often see people in their flock as teachers. ”

Because part of Baylor’s mission is to “teach men and women for global leadership and ministry,” Nesmith said Baylor’s students are uniquely suited for teaching.

“I really believe that teaching is more than a profession; it is a vocation, ”said Nasmith. “And I think people who come to Baylor, by and large, choose Baylor because they’re very service-oriented. They look at ways to serve their communities, ways to serve society, and one of the most incredible ways to serve is education. ”

Dr Jennifer Johnson, director of hiring and first-year experience, said the education concentration provides students with a strong set of skills that will benefit them whether they get a job in education or not.

“I think the biggest advantage is the set of skills you learn,” Johnson said. “I think people think about education many times, they know they will be teachers, but teachers also know how to be organized, they know how to reach different types of students, they learn to speak professionally and things like that. And you can take those skills with you into any role you choose to pursue. ”

Nasmith, McCall, and Johnson said the existence of educational concentrations is not widely advertised on campus, but the School of Education is working to disseminate information about the opportunity.

“We want all college students to know their options,” McCall said. “We don’t want them to think that if they can’t do what they plan to do in college, there are only one or two options if there are many, many of them. In this way, to make students understand that learning is not only an option, but also a life service – something they can do and direct their passions to children, serving people and their content. ”

Austin Sr. Didi Meloni, who specializes in biology with a concentration in education, said it was especially important for students to be aware of this opportunity because of the shortage of faculty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She said her biggest advice to those considering adding a concentration of education is “just do it”.

“Just 100% go for it,” Maloney said. “You would be amazed at how much you can achieve. Many classes in minor form reflect what you are already doing in your major. So if you plan this, you can really gain extra experience in these classes and reinforce the content you study in your core classes. So it’s just an added bonus. “

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