Testimonials: What are alumni saying about CGU’s Teacher Education?
What more alumni are saying about CGU’s Teacher Education...
Frances Carreon (MA in Education, '05)
First grade teacher, Bakersfield, CA
“I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to earn a teaching credential and Master’s degree at the same time. The program is just right for those who are working in the classroom and want a quality education.”
Frances Carreon, '05, a first grade teacher in Bakersfield, feels that Claremont Graduate University's Teacher Education Program "fulfilled my interests in many ways, from the professors who shared their passion for teaching, to the ethnography which helped build a closer teacher-student relationship, to the literature required for each of my classes."
"The program went above and beyond what I was going to be confronting in the classroom. I truly value the social justice touch the program offered because it has really hit home working in a low-income school. And the faculty were awesome. They devoted their time to their class and students because of their love of teaching and life-long learning."
Asked to summarize what she took from the program, she suggests that "the quote that defines it all is by the late Cesar Chavez: 'The end of all education should surely be service to others.'"
Amber Carrow (MA in Education, '04)
2010 California Teacher of the Year
World History Teacher, Chemawa Middle School, Riverside, CA
"I have a simple teaching philosophy: reach the student first, and then you can teach the subject."
"I have a simple teaching philosophy: reach the student first, and then you can teach the subject." So explained Amber Carrow (SES Teacher Education '04) upon being named a 2010 California Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Carrow has been a teacher for six years at Chemawa Middle School in Riverside, where the principal credits her with creating "a positive and exciting learning environment in her classroom."
"I am challenged by my teacher-student relationships and I recognize that I will always be adjusting, re-thinking, and striving to attain their respect. I work very hard to take my class from ordinary to extraordinary. I attempt to bring history to life through a variety of teaching skills and hands-on learning techniques. As a World History teacher, I am able to teach students about diverse cultural achievements, religions, governments, geography, and arts from around the globe," Ms. Carrow explains.
Ms. Carrow not only teaches about the world, she travels around it as well. This past year, she was awarded a Teacher Fellowship Grant from the Earthwatch Foundation to conduct scientific research in Nova Scotia related to the effects of climate change. She was in daily contact with her students via the Web. "They truly were transported through this experience," she said, "and it has sparked their desire to participate in affecting positive world climate change from their school."
Brenda Dougan (MA in Education, '07)
6th grade teacher, Fontana USD
“The Teacher Education program at Claremont Graduate University taught me how bringing real-life connections into the curriculum enhances critical as well as creative thinking.”
"The Teacher's Education program at Claremont Graduate University has inspired me to promote academic fervor among all of my students," says Brenda Dougan, a 6th grade teacher in Fontana and a recent graduate of the School of Educational Studies' Teacher Education program. "This exceptional program taught me that there is a higher propensity for students to achieve academic excellence when they are able to make the connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it can be transferred to real- life experiences. I frequently hear my students ask, 'Are we ever going to need this in real life?' This is why I find it essential to make those real life connections through skits that allow my students to expand their thinking in regards to the subject matter. In other words, Claremont has encouraged me to bring realia into the classroom.
"This program has taught me that embedding realia into the curriculum enhances critical, as well as creative thinking. As a Math and Science teacher, it is imperative that I promote higher level thinking among all of my students. I, strongly, believe that when my students are able to cognitively process the connection between the mathematical concepts learned in the classroom and their personal lives, they have engaged in higher level thinking."
Jessica Duran (MA in Education, '07)
Teacher, high school science and social skills inclusion program for students with autism
"CGU made us colleagues, the Teacher Education Program made us family.”
Jessica Duran (MA Education, '07) admits that the decision to go back school to prepare for a new career was difficult. "Raising children with a full time job was time consuming enough, so the dream of going back to school appeared to be a goal that was out of my reach. I often wondered how I was going to make it through the class assignments and homework, in addition to balancing my family and career obligations."
She credits the cohort structure of CGU's Teacher Education program with helping to get her through. "During the initial instructional class, I was introduced to a group of extraordinary future educators who were on the same journey. Their encouragement, advice, and loyalty were unmatched in everyway. Together we accomplished our dream of becoming highly qualified education specialists with Master's degrees."
Today Jessica teaches high school science and a social skills inclusion program for students with autism. She has assisted in piloting a number of cutting edge programs that focus on individuals with disabilities, social justice and multicultural issues. She also does consulting, runs workshops, and participates in conferences that educate others interested in working with individuals with disabilities.
To accomplish all of this, she continues to draw strength and perspective from her graduate school peers. "CGU made us colleagues, the Teacher Education Program made us family."
Raul Gonzalez (MA in Education)Elementary Teacher
"Teaching in California is a challenging, but rewarding career. The increasing difficulty of content standards, the ever-changing demographics of our students, and the politics of educational policy creates ongoing opportunities for lifelong learning. CGU addresses these and other topics in education that have made me a better teacher.”
Raul's thoughts on CGU's Teacher Education Program:
"There are many choices when it comes to teacher education programs. Not all however provide students the opportunity to practice the theory that is taught concurrently. Claremont Graduate University's Teacher Education Program has given me a firm grasp on what it means to serve underprivileged communities similar to that of where I grew up. Its concentrated curriculum caters to educators like me; someone that is driven to make a positive change in the lives of others. Each day that I step into my first grade classroom I am able to walk in and teach with confidence and reassurance that the skills I have gained through CGU's program are relevant to the art of teaching. In the process I have used the ethnographic practices I learned to then learn about my students. As a result, I know that the academic and life lessons that I teach my students are effective and productive. There is a saying that "teachers can't save everyone," but I strongly believe that CGU makes it so that at the end of the school year we cannot say that we did not try everything in our power to reach each student.
Teaching in California is a challenging, but rewarding career. The increasing difficulty of content standards, the ever-changing demographics of our students, and the politics of educational policy creates ongoing opportunities for lifelong learning. CGU addresses these and other topics in education that have made me a better teacher. We are taught to keep an open mind and welcome the differences that make us human. Our students are no exception. I envision myself teaching for many years to come as a result of this. Each school year is guaranteed to be different, but the effective practices I have learned to ensure student learning and achievement will continue to serve me well. I walk into my classroom every morning and my students are appreciative of what I do for them. In turn, I appreciate CGU's commitment to their students and the lessons they teach to make people like me a better teacher."
Tamara Jourdain (MA in Education, '04)
“With its emphasis on recognizing students’ diverse backgrounds, CGU’s Teacher Education program has instilled in me the importance of being an advocate for social justice and equity.”
As a kindergarten teacher, Tamara Jourdain has her hands full most days. Nonetheless, she manages to find time to pass along her own teaching skills as both a colleague and a mentor. In the brief time since graduating from CGU Tamara has not only become chairperson for her grade level, she also has begun serving as a master teacher for several teacher education programs.
In this way, the award-winning teacher passes on the high-level instruction and hands-on experience she received at CGU. She always leads with her enthusiasm. "CGU's high-quality, rigorous program has positively contributed to my career as an educational leader," she explains. "I truly believe that my students are successful because I recognize the value of getting an in depth understanding of each and every one them. I would definitely recommend CGU's Teacher education program to aspiring educators."