Benedictine has a great education program, but it involves a lot of organization and dedication to get through it. This makes sense, considering if you want to be a teacher, it’s necessary that you stay organized and on top of things. I particularly wanted to write about this because of my experience with the program. I learned very quickly that YOU are the one responsible for remembering all the dates and requirements you need to achieve certain things. No one is going to remind you unless you ask your adviser or someone in the education office. Here are some basics that I wish I knew as soon as I entered the program.
1) TEP. You MUST be admitted into the Teacher Education Program before you can move forward. You can take a few required education courses without being admitted, but in order to start doing pre-clinicals, you have to submit your application. This requires you going onto the Benedictine website and filling out the application, completing and passing all of your basic skills classes, as well as passing the TAP exam. The TAP exam can be replaced with a score of 22 or higher on the ACT. You have to submit this score to the ISBE website in order to become exempt from the test. If you have to take the test, you have a certain amount of attempts to do so until you pass and can be admitted.
2) Preclinicals. Along with your education classes, you will have to complete a certain amount of hours at a preclinical experience as well. This involves going to a school for a few hours at a time and observing a classroom setting. This preclinical has a corresponding class that goes along with it. In order to register for the preclinical you must be admitted to TEP, have a GPA of at least 2.75, and turn in a preclinical application that can be found online. Talk to your adviser to make sure you know exactly what to do.
3) Exams. There are 3 exams that go along with the education program that must be passed in order to complete the program. One of them is the previously mentioned TAP exam that must be passed in order to be admitted into TEP ( or use your ACT). Another is the Content -Area Test, which will test you on your knowledge if the subject you are planning to teach (Biology, Spanish,Elementary, etc.). Last is the Professional Teaching Test. Special Education majors have an additional test they are required to take as well.
4) Getting Friendly with ISBE and the Education Page. These websites will be frequently used throughout your time in the program and are your most helpful resources. It is necessary to get familiar with the Illinois State Board of Education because this is where all your standards are located. These standards are incorporated into many of your education courses and you must be familiar with them and know where to find them. Also many forms must be submitted through this website as well. Benedictine’s website holds all the information for our education program such as deadlines and handbooks that you need.
5) Your course requirements. Many times your core electives will be modified in your schedule if you are an education major or minor. For example, individuals in the education program must take a non-western culture class, but do not have to take a philosophy because it is already satisfied by the major. Also, one of the required humanities tends to be substituted for an American History course instead. These are all things you should be aware of when registering so you know you have all of the necessary classes.
This information will get you started, but as I said, this program involves being highly organized and self-sufficient so you must be able to search out for information on your own. This can be an extremely rewarding program if you put the effort in. Hooray for education!