Master of Arts in Teaching
Q. You completed an undergraduate degree at Drew correct? How has Graduate school differed from undergraduate? How is it similar?
A. Yes, I did go to Drew as an undergraduate major in Italian and sociology and just graduated in May 2010. For me the Graduate school has differed most from undergraduate by being more fast paced in nature. This is mostly because I chose to do the one-year track to receive the MAT. It is also very different just studying with one very specific goal in mind of becoming a teacher, rather than filling a bunch of general liberal art requirements along with those of my majors. However, the program has been more similar than different from my undergraduate experience. All the aspects of Drew that I love, such as the small class sizes, great student-professor relationships, and a well-rounded curriculum are still present.
Q. So you plan on teaching Italian correct?
A. Yes I want to teach Italian. I think Italian, like all world languages, is a vital subject provided that we live in an society defined by globalization and cross-cultural relationships. Being able to speak and understand another language is truly an asset to anyone, regardless of where their career or life may take them. For example, many businesses now seek employees who speak foreign languages and most students have to take a world language if they choose to continue their studies at the post-secondary level. People truly respect those who speak foreign languages and appreciate their efforts of increasing their own cultural awareness and capital. Language is such a fundamental element and opens one’s life to countless opportunities.
Q. What has been the greatest strength of the MAT program thus far?
A. Definitely the “close knit” atmosphere and relationships that exist between the professors and the students, as well as among the students themselves. I have truly met some of the most dedicated, motivated, and knowledgeable professors and students in my classes. I feel that the program fosters a collaborative and network-oriented atmosphere that really helps someone to grapple with the material regardless of what discipline they are seeking certification in. I also feel the program takes a truly pragmatic and holistic approach to teaching by offering an array of pedagogy courses on topics ranging from technology to human diversity, as well as those in every student’s specific discipline.
Q. Could you describe the Human Diversity class?
A. It has been my favorite class in the MAT program so far. This course literally merged pedagogy and sociology to underscore how one can be an effective teacher through respect and by celebrating diversity. The two professors took an amazingly comprehensible approach and taught essential skills that transcend any discipline on both a theoretical and pragmatic level. The course did an excellent job marrying sociology and teaching learners with diverse needs, specifically in regard to language acquisition. This course was very engaging and, for me, best describes my experience in the program thus far. Everyone should take a course like this sometime in their academic career, regardless of their major and/or career intentions
Q. You seem very passionate about teaching. Are there any final words or advice you would like to share?
A. Teaching is intimidating. Many people think “anyone” can teach. In fact, I have even fallen victim to this in the past. However, having taken nine courses so far, observing classes, and preparing to student teach this spring, I can say without any hesitation that this is not true at all. It takes a special person to teach well. Therefore, my advice is to try to take in and cherish everything that you are exposed to in the program and to realize that you have the amazing opportunity to help countless youth by becoming a teacher. Always take time to “digest” what you have learned and embrace the fact that this will all “make sense” in time as you form your very own teaching philosophy. When everything is said and done everything eventually “clicks” and you soon realize how lucky you are to be entering the field with the knowledge the MAT program equips you with.