(Dec. 11, 2012) -- Approximately 285 UTSA education majors are ready to enter a classroom in a different role this fall. The students, newly trained and certified, are the most recent new teachers to be inducted by the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. UTSA is the largest producer of K-12 teachers in San Antonio, having trained and certified more than 6,300 teachers.
Before UTSA education majors can graduate with their degrees and become certified teachers, they must complete a semester of required student teaching. The experience gives them the opportunity to practice instructional techniques, manage a classroom, navigate a school setting and auxiliary services, and work as a member of a professional team.
The UTSA education majors will be certified to teach early childhood education-sixth grade, middle school (4th-8th grade), high school (8th-12th grade) or all levels, a certification awarded to P.E., art, music and special education teachers.
Years ago, UTSA education majors would complete their required student teaching with little or no fanfare. However, Janet Scott, director of the Office of Student Teaching, believed that completing student teaching merited recognition.
"Student teaching is a rigorous experience, and these students deserve special recognition for the commitment they have made to their studies and to the education of the next generation," said Scott.
So, what began as a simple gathering to mark completion of their efforts has transformed into a full-fledged induction ceremony allowing UTSA student teachers to invite their family members, friends and mentors. Schools districts across the region also attend the UTSA induction ceremonies to celebrate the incoming teachers.
This semester, UTSA will induct approximately 250 new K-12 teachers amid an expected audience of 600 supporters. Undergraduate Sarai Lara will be among them.
A bilingual education major, Lara completed her student teaching at San Antonio Independent School District's Japhet Elementary School. The commitment was tremendous. She commuted 81 miles one way from her home in Uvalde, Texas, Monday-Friday, to work with the children in Celina Chambers' first-grade class.
Like many of the children she teaches, Lara spoke only Spanish when she began attending school. It's something that she feels connects her to the class.
"I enjoy helping the kids and relating to them and what they're going through," she said. "I really enjoy seeing them learn. When the little light bulb goes on, it's so exciting to know that I connected with them."
UTSA College of Education Dean Betty Merchant says that's what it's all about.
"Student teaching gives our education majors an opportunity to hone their skills under the direction of an accomplished master teacher," said Merchant. "This year, 16 school districts across the San Antonio region and in Boerne, Comal County, Lytle and Bandera welcomed our students for student teaching placements. We are so grateful for these partnerships. The experience positions our students to enter the teaching profession well-prepared to make a difference in the lives of our youth."
The UTSA fall 2012 induction ceremony was Friday, Dec. 7 in the University Center Ballroom on the Main Campus. Daniel Leija, 2011 Texas Teacher of the Year, was the keynote speaker. Known as "Dan, Dan, the science man," Leija is a fifth grade teacher at Northside Independent School District's Esparza School.
The UTSA College of Education and Human Development is the leading provider of educators in San Antonio and South Texas. The college is responsible for innovative research and grants in professional development, technology enhancement, health, school readiness, and bi-national and bicultural issues.
Brackenridge Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Shari Huhndorf, Department Chair of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and specializing in Native American Literature and Culture will present her current work during two public lectures.
John Peace Library Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSAPD and UTSA Outdoor Pursuits will teach and assist students, staff and faculty in basic bike repair.
Recreation Wellness Center, Outdoor Resource Center, Main Campus
he celebration will feature live music, food and drinks, Fiesta medals and royalty, and plenty of cascarones! The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
John Peace Library Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
A brand new official Fiesta event is sponsored by UTSA and San Antonio Parks Foundation. This live country music festival features artists all day and night, dance lessons, merchants, a mechanical bull, food and drinks.
UTSA Park West Athletics Complex
The winners of the vocal area of the Concerto and Aria Competition will perform accompanied by the UTSA Orchestra.
Arts Building Recital Hall (Arts 2.03.02), Main Campus
President Taylor Eighmy invites all UTSA students to come grab a slice of pizza and introduce themselves to the President. Pizza while supplies last.
Frio Street Building, Food Court Commons, Downtown Campus
The town hall is an opportunity for the campus community to learn more about the President's Initiative for the Downtown Campus, ask questions, and offer perspectives on potential challenges and benefits.
Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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