Saturday, April 29, 2017

New teachers get an A+ at April 26 induction ceremony

Since 2004, UTSA has trained more than 6,400 K-12 educators.

(April 21, 2017) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) is training the top-tier educators of tomorrow. A new crop of teachers will be recognized at the UTSA New Teacher Reception and Induction Ceremony from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26 in the H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.102) on the UTSA Main Campus.

"Educators prepared by the UTSA College of Education and Human Development serve in every school district in the San Antonio area and in many school districts throughout the state of Texas," said Janet Scott, director of clinical teaching for COEHD. "We are proud of the accomplishments of our graduates and are confident that they will continue to make a positive and significant impact for many years to come."

Each semester, dozens of new teachers are recognized at the UTSA New Teacher Induction Ceremony. The event gives UTSA education majors the opportunity to invite family members, friends and mentors to celebrate their accomplishment. School districts across the region also attend to celebrate the newest additions to the profession.

UTSA senior Lacee Winkler will be one of the 185 inductees recognized in this year's ceremony. Winkler was working as a restaurant manager when she realized that the best part of her job was training and teaching her employees new skills. She shifted gears and began pursuing a teaching degree at UTSA in 2016.

"I want to make a difference in the lives of students, watching them grow and making new, lifelong relationships," said Winkler. "I am also looking forward to being around others who are there because of the kids. It will be nice to be part of a team who have a similar passion for teaching as I have."

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 and auxiliary services, and work as a member of a professional team.

Alejandra Romo is another UTSA teacher inductee taking part in the ceremony. Romo was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and grew up primarily speaking Spanish. She was inspired by her bilingual elementary school teachers who showed her the importance of speaking two languages.

"I wanted to be like my teachers in elementary school that taught me a new language but also made sure I kept my original language," said Romo.

When Romo transferred to UTSA, she noticed an immediate difference in the dedication and passion the professors had for teaching future teachers. They motivated her to get out of her comfort zone and learn new strategies to help her bilingual students succeed in all subjects. She says that UTSA has given her the tools she needed to become the bilingual teacher she has always wanted to be.

"I want to be able to give students what I had when I was in elementary school," said Romo. "I want to be the one who sets the base in their education – the base that will help them continue through higher education to become productive members of society."

Since fall 2004, the COEHD has trained and certified more than 6,400 student teachers, most of whom teach in San Antonio area schools. UTSA students can pursue training and certification to teach early childhood education to sixth grade, middle school or high school. UTSA also offers specialized certifications such as P.E., art, music and special education.

"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.

UTSA is the leading provider of educators in San Antonio and South Texas. COEHD is responsible for innovative research and grants in professional development, technology, enhancement, health, school readiness, and bi-national and bicultural issues.

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

- Brian Ward

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