“This was my first true experience working in a classroom with students, and it was such a blast,” she said. “I loved being able to work with students with varying needs and watch them develop and flourish throughout the months I was with them. This experience proved to me that I’m going down the right career path.” – Sela Hanson
Majors Eligible to Join
All entering freshmen elementary education majors are automatically enrolled. Interested freshmen seeking teacher certification in other areas and undecided new freshmen wanting to explore teaching as an option are also invited to join.
This learning community formally meets during the fall semester of the freshmen year. It is designed to bring together students majoring in Elementary Education that will lead to K-6 teacher certification. Students will be immersed in an environment rich in coursework and interact with faculty and staff who are preparing tomorrow’s leaders for teaching in K-6 schools. During the spring semester, the students will have an opportunity to participate in a field experience working with school-aged children.
Throughout their freshman year, students will take courses and have experiences ranging from having a primary focus on helping entering freshmen identify and acquire skills and dispositions to become successful college students to those establishing the foundation for beginning the process of “thinking like a teacher”. They will also be paired with cooperating teachers in K-6 schools where they will gain a sense of what it means to be a teacher.
In the fall, connections to teaching as a discipline will be strengthened by having students enroll in EDUC 205 – Social Foundations of American Education in the United States. This course will provide students with an early exposure to the history, philosophy, and challenges faced by schools in the United States today. Students will also enroll in EDUC 216 – Learning Community Orientation to Teacher Education. Students will receive an overview of the Elementary Education program and develop an individualized long range plan of study to satisfy the requirements in the different teacher certification content areas available at Iowa State University. Additionally, students enroll in HD FS 102 – Individual and Family Life Development. This class fulfills the life-span development requirement of teacher education as well as a social science requirement.
In the spring, the learning community students will enroll in their first field experience at Iowa State, EDUC 280N– Pre-Student Teaching Experience I. During this experience, the students will be paired with a K-6 cooperating teacher within the local school district for a 14-16 hour practicum experience. This opportunity will allow the students to gain a hands-on practical experience that will hopefully confirm their choice of teaching as an occupation and help to clarify which level of teaching will be a better fit for them.
As a result of being a member of Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers Learning Community, the students will gain an understanding of how schools work within a community, an appreciation of how schools and universities cooperate to prepare teachers, and what it means to be a teacher. With the leadership of peer-mentors, students are introduced to useful resources, receive academic support through study groups, and participate in special learning and group activities. Students will come to know more about themselves, their learning styles and their vocational fit.
Students enroll during freshmen orientation.