Master of Arts in Teaching
Q. Why did you decide to go into education?
A. Being a social studies student, I have always felt the need to foster a better sense of social responsibility. In the classroom, I want to inspire critical thinking skills and enhance problem-solving techniques, because I feel that these skills are very important in building a stronger society. In essence, I went into education to help people become better citizens.
Q. How have your courses prepared you for this challenge?
A. We do far more in class than simply learn material. My professors present problems to us; they don’t make the classes easy. But that has been very helpful in building our skills as educators, which I can then in turn give to my students.
Q. You were a Drew undergraduate as well. How does the MAT program differ from your undergraduate studies?
A. The courses focus greatly on building our intellect. Discussions in class are extremely important, and students as well as professors allow us to second guess our preconceived notions. In many ways we are treated more like peers than students, and they respect our beliefs. While a lot of this was true while I was an undergraduate, it has all been heightened while in graduate school.
Q. What themes have been stressed in the coursework?
A. We have learned how politicized the social sciences can be. History is not a clear-cut field, and there are not always easy answers to questions. I have seen this materialize in my Field Experiences, where our thoughts on social studies are put into action. The Field Experiences have been great because they are a wonderful way the basically practice for our careers, and to put all of our theories are put to the test.
Q. How helpful have the faculty been in preparing you for teaching?
A. They have been very helpful. The professors provide realistic yet challenging goals for us, and they give us sincere constructive criticism. They don’t just say that our work is wrong, they tell us how to improve our craft. In the process, they give us realistic tools for classroom management, which will be essential once we are in a classroom.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective students considering the MAT program?
A. Come into the program with an open mind. If you come into the program thinking that you are ready to teach then you are setting yourself up for failure. The best thing that has happened for me in this program is that I have expanded my horizons and learned concepts that I would have never imagined before.