Story posted September 30, 2009
Most students come to Bowdoin expecting their college experience to open new doors. For some students, however, one of those doors has just opened much wider and for a whole lot longer.
Bowdoin's Education Department has begun offering a program that will allow students to earn their teacher certification as early as their junior year—or up to two years following their graduation, at no additional cost.
The new Bowdoin Teacher Scholars program provides spring student-teaching placements in area public schools for Bowdoin juniors, seniors—and alumni—who have successfully completed required coursework for a teaching minor. It also includes additional courses needed for certification—which are offered tuition-free—and provides grants to offset costs associated with the program.
"Bowdoin will be one of the few undergraduate liberal arts institutions offering a tuition-free post-graduate pathway for obtaining a teaching credential," says Associate Professor of Education Charles Dorn. "We want our students to have support for receiving the full training they need to be successful teachers, without sacrificing the spectrum of experiences available to them at Bowdoin. It's a pretty nice situation."
Bowdoin Teacher Scholars opens up many options for obtaining teaching certification. Undergrads can complete all coursework and student teaching by the end of their junior or senior year, opening up new possibilities for double majors or honors projects. Students participating in study-away programs can defer student teaching until their senior year or up to two years following graduation.
Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive teacher certification from the State of Maine (which can be used to teach in all 50 states) and gain access to teacher induction programs in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
A grant from the Snow Family Fund will underwrite loan reimbursement and/or financial support for program expenses for qualifying undergraduate students, and, depending on the number of program participants, may provide post-graduates with financial support for associated expenses such as housing and meals.
According to Dorn, the new program was designed to accommodate an increasing demand for teacher training among current students and graduates alike. Recent College records show more students are minoring in Bowdoin's teaching and education studies programs than in any other programs offered in the curriculum. The number of Bowdoin alumni working in educational fields is second only to those employed in economics-related industries.
In many cases, notes Dorn, recent graduates develop an interest in teaching after having participated in community outreach programs such as AmeriCorps, or after spending time in the work force.
"Bowdoin students tend to have a keen interest in effecting social change," says Dorn. "Once they are out in the world, those connections between teaching and service often become even more tangible. They become inspired by the idea of sharing their knowledge and experience with young people."
Among the requirements for Bowdoin Teacher Scholars is a major in a subject area of certification endorsed by the State of Maine, and a cumulative 3.0 grade point average at the end of the semester prior to the start of their student teaching practicum.
Deadline for submitting applications materials for spring 2010 is October 23, 2009. For more information, contact Bowdoin Education Department coordinator Lynn Brettler at 207-725-3465.