According to a 2010 report from the National Commission on Teaching and America′s Future, schools in the United States will lose 1.5 million teachers to retirement in the next eight years.1 Combined with new-teacher attrition, the number climbs to nearly 1.8 million.
The faculty of Geneva′s education department seeks to prepare teachers who will not only stand in a gap created by retirees, but also in the gap for students in our calling to advance the kingdom of Christ. Teachers have great impact on social, personal and intellectual development, and Christians fulfill their passion to teach in a variety of educational settings. Distinctive to Geneva, our students develop a perspective on "teaching redemptively" in the classroom.
Our faculty diligently works to stay at the forefront of changes, both in academic standards and in best research practices. The PA Department of Education recently restructured teaching certificates to include early childhood and English Language Learners (ELL) education. Dr. Nancy Johnson and Dr. Romaine Jesky-Smith each took sabbaticals to gain additional expertise that will now benefit our students.
Dr. Johnson writes: "I lived in Cordova, AK-the fishing village in the news because of their enormous amount of snow this winter. During my sabbatical, I worked with a preschool on a daily basis. The students were from various ethnic backgrounds including Native Alaskan, Filipino and from the Dominican Republic. I also visited the local elementary school and taught a series of enrichment reading lessons to a group of 6th graders, observed 3rd grade science lessons taught by the Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC) and went on a field trip with the 5th and 6th graders. I consulted with the PWSSC about their curriculum. I was also able to observe kindergarten and to substitute in a 1st grade classroom. Outside of the school, I worked with an after-school ministry, a church youth group and Sunday school."
Dr. Jesky-Smith completed additional certification in ELL and is currently visiting different schools in order to understand how ELL methods are best being used. Through her efforts, the department has a SMART Board and document camera to prepare students for technological opportunities in the classroom.
Dr. Beth Belcastro works with our students through scholarly presentations; Dr. Karen Schmalz takes students to Mexico to work in orphanages; Dr. Yvonne Trotter works with students in various community service projects; and Geneva has eight students doing a portion of their student teaching in various countries around the world. All of these opportunities enhance the calling God has placed on our students to teach.
The education major at Geneva is designed to prepare students for superior command of classroom settings, including those with diverse learners. Strengths of the program include extensive field experience prior to student teaching through community tutoring opportunities and multiple classroom observation courses. Teaching is demanding and people drawn to this work often tend to think of teaching not merely as a job, but as a calling. At Geneva, we approach this idea of calling, as well as the entire field of teaching, from a biblical perspective, which also affects how we view all students.
To learn more about the education major, click here.
1Carroll, Thomas G. and Elizabeth Foster. 2010. Who Will Teach? Experience Matters. National Commission on Teaching and America′s Future. www.nctaf.org.