Story by Katie Ericson
One of Drake University’s largest programs is the School of Education. With 14 different endorsement options for undergraduate elementary and secondary education majors, 13 for graduate students, and over 1,000 students it’s considered one of the best education programs in the Midwest.
A major part of this program is student teaching. Thanks to the many schools in Des Moines and the surrounding cities, students have an opportunity to be placed in one of the participating schools and teach part time during the year. This gives students an opportunity to gain real world experience and get a head start with their teaching career.
Sophomore Kristen Bramhall, an English — language arts and journalism secondary education major, is taking a practicum that’s giving her these advantages. By teaching freshman English classes at Urbandale High School, she has learned a lot.
“Having a practicum has taught me so much. It has taught me to be patient, to listen more than I speak and to accept that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you admit you were wrong and make necessary corrections,” Bramhall said.
The differences between classroom examples and activities, and genuine scenarios and conflicts are massive. By having students engage in actual teaching before they graduate, Drake ensures that its students will have less of a shock when they begin teaching compared to those who have only been introduced to the theories and ideas in someone else’s classroom.
“When I was going into my practicum I was a little nervous that I would hate it and maybe teaching wasn’t what I thought it would be, and maybe I would be terrible at it like I was afraid of,” Bramhall said. “But that wasn’t the case at all. You just have to throw yourself into it completely.”
Bramhall also explained why she loves Drake’s program. Each state has different requirements for teachers to pass in order for them to be allowed to teach in that state. Iowa has some of the strictest requirements for teaching certificates anywhere in the country.
“That means I could get my certificate here, and I would have all of the credentials needed to teach in any other state. Rather than having to take another class in that state to have all the necessary credentials,” she said. “That is a very big deal. That means that Drake’s education school takes all of the standards that students have to meet to receive their degree very seriously.”