Education concentrations offer an alternative route to a career in secondary education

The School of Education offers concentrations in a variety of majors. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Jenna Fitzgerald | copy editor

Although a little-known opportunity in the School of Education, education concentrations offer students majoring in biology, health sciences, history, and math an alternative route to a career in secondary education.

Concentrations in Education, which are similar to minors and require an additional 31 hours of coursework, allow students studying one of these four core content areas to complement their degree not only with educational instruction, but also with experience. classroom practice as an associate teacher and trainee.

Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, associate dean of undergraduate education, said one of the biggest benefits of education concentrations is that by offering an alternative to the traditional education major, they enable more students to learn and continue in the field of secondary education.

“We want people who are interested in education – whether it’s ‘I want to teach young children’ or ‘I want to share my love, passion and expertise in this content with others’ or ‘C’ is a teacher who got me interested in chemistry; I would love to do that for young people,” Nesmith said.

High School Program Coordinator Dr. Madelon McCall said there are several reasons why students may choose to focus on education instead of majoring. While some may want to have a deeper study of their chosen content area, others may realize later in their college career that they want to continue their education without having to extend their undergraduate time.

“Baylor students often get involved working with middle school or high school kids and realize how much fun it is to help shape those young lives and decide, ‘You know what? I love the content. I love children. What work can I do that would combine these two passions? said McCall. “And teaching is one of those options.”

No matter what causes students to choose a concentration over a major, McCall said those on the path to becoming teachers are united in their desire to serve.

“Baylor students are very mission-minded, so they want to serve, and they’re finding that the best way to serve is to be a teacher,” McCall said. “There really is no other career opportunity where you can touch a student’s life every day of the week. Even pastors and youth ministers don’t see their flock as often as teachers do.

Since part of Baylor’s mission is “to educate men and women for leadership and service throughout the world,” Nesmith said Baylor students are ideally suited for the teaching field. .

“I truly believe that teaching is more than a profession; it’s a calling,” Nesmith said. “And I think people who come to Baylor, on the whole, choose Baylor because they’re very service-oriented. They are looking for ways to serve their communities, ways to serve society, and one of the most amazing ways to serve is through education.

Dr. Jenifer Johnson, director of freshman recruitment and experience, said education concentrations provide students with a strong set of skills that will benefit them whether or not they end up in a job in education. .

“I think the biggest benefit is the skill set you learn,” Johnson said. “I think a lot of times people think about education, they know they’re going to be teachers, but teachers also know how to organize themselves, know how to reach different types of learners, learn how to speak professionally and things like that. And you can take those skills with you into whatever role you decide to pursue.

Nesmith, McCall, and Johnson all said that the existence of education concentrations is not widely publicized on campus, but the School of Education is working to publicize this opportunity.

“We want all college students to know their options,” McCall said. “We don’t want them to think, if they can’t do what they set out to do in college, that there are only one or two options when there are has many, many options. Let students know that teaching isn’t just an option, it’s a service of life – something they can do and channel their passions for children, for serving people, and for their content field .

Austin senior Didi Maloney, who is majoring in biology with a concentration in education, said it’s especially important for students to be aware of this opportunity now due to teacher shortages caused by the COVID pandemic. -19. She said her biggest advice to those considering adding an education concentration is to “just do it.”

“Go for it 100%,” Maloney said. “You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish. Many courses in the minor mirror what you are already doing for your major. So if you plan it, you can actually gain additional experience in those courses and kind of solidify the content that you learn in your core courses. So it’s like an added bonus.

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