February 2022 – Drew University and Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies offers students a Teaching Dual-Degree Program, a popular path for students to earn a bachelor’s and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree in only five years.
The 4+1 program allows Drew undergraduate students to take four graduate-level education courses during their junior or senior year and complete the MAT in one year at Caspersen.
We spoke with Lauren DeLillo C’21, G’22 who is scheduled to graduate with a Teaching Dual-Degree this May. She credits her courses, student teaching placement, and Drew’s faculty for providing the valuable experience she will need to become an educator.
Why did you enroll in the 4+1 Teaching Dual-Degree Program?
As a four-year undergraduate student at Drew, I was welcomed with open arms into the teaching community as I began taking graduate-level education classes during my junior and senior years. I was the only secondary education math candidate, so it was exciting for me to be a unique member of this cohort. Even better was the fact that I would be getting a lot of individualized attention from an experienced professional throughout my content-specific methods courses.
I was considering moving back home to complete graduate school in New York. However, Drew’s accelerated program would allow me to obtain a MAT in secondary education math plus an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement with only one more year of schooling after my undergraduate journey, as opposed to a minimum of two. In addition, I was able to feel the support of the Drew MAT faculty during my undergraduate years, and I wanted to keep building upon the amazing connections that I had already begun to make.
How is Drew preparing you to become an educator?
Drew is preparing me to be an educator by planning out my coursework over the past three years in a manner in which each course has built upon the others in a meaningful way, and has gotten more specific to my content area as I began my fifth and final year. The classes taken during my undergraduate years were more general for all educators and allowed me to gain important knowledge and skills that have allowed me to specialize in my craft currently. I would say that the most impactful courses in this program have been my methods courses with Dr. Thomas Smock, MAT program adjunct professor. By gaining so much knowledge from his experience and innovative ideas, in combination with putting these ideas into action alongside my wonderfully supportive cooperating teacher at my student teaching placement, I have been able to make major strides in my teaching abilities and comfortability in the classroom.
How will your immersive experiences benefit you in your classroom?
My internship at Madison High School has been an absolutely tremendous experience so far. Drew has allowed the members of my cohort the opportunity to student teach two days a week throughout the fall semester, followed by being a full-time student teacher during the spring semester. This has enabled me to get to know my students both academically and personally from the very beginning of the school year. At this point, I have completely taken over a couple of math classes and I feel like an actual teacher. This will benefit me so much going into my first year of teaching and beyond. As much as it has been super important to gain knowledge as a student in the classroom, it is the hands-on teaching experience that has allowed me to develop my own identity and philosophy as an educator for the ultimate benefit of my future students.
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