Transition to Teaching program aims to ease local teaching shortage
Liam Price | Monday, January 24, 2022
Holy Cross’s Transition to Teaching program, which began in Fall 2020 in response to local teaching shortages, is set to graduate its first students this spring.
The program consists of 24 credits of education-focused courses stretched out over three semesters, leading its students to a K-6 teaching certification. “The Transition to Teaching Program is essentially a fast-track to a teaching license in the State of Indiana,” the Director of Holy Cross’s Elementary Education program Felicia Reid-Metoyer said.
To participate in Transition to Teaching at Holy Cross, students are required to have an undergraduate degree, allowing Holy Cross to bypass typical course requirements in undergraduate education programs which future teachers typically take.
Reid-Metoyer said Transition to Teaching is geared towards two groups: “career changers” and those who already work in education — such as a teacher’s aide — but do not have an adequate teaching license yet. Maria Dunn, who works as a fifth-grade teacher with an emergency teachers license at Our Lady of Hungary in South Bend, fits the latter description.
“The experience has been just really wonderful and fruitful,” Dunn said. She began the Transition to the Teaching program in the fall, after graduating as an English major from Holy Cross in the Spring 2021 semester, and is set to finish this spring.
Dunn emphasized the practical nature of the Transition to Teaching program. “Everything benefits you and you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time,” she said. “All of the classes that we take are classes that help the teacher become better equipped to serve the students.”
When meeting with the Indiana Department of Education, Holy Cross pointed to their already-accredited undergraduate courses as courses that would also be used for the Transition to Teaching program. These courses, Reid-Metoyer said, are now “blended with undergrads and our Transition to Teaching students” and Holy Cross can run the program without needing additional faculty or staff.
“We make sure that our classes accommodate the fact that [the Transition to Teaching students] may be busy during the day, unlike a typical college student,” Reid-Metoyer said. These accommodating courses include “high touch” online and night courses which Transition to Teaching participants can complete along with another career or commitment.
The program requires students to take eight three-credit courses, all of which are part of the undergraduate Education program at Holy Cross. “It’s mostly what we call methods classes, so they’re application rather than theory courses,” Reid-Metoyer said.
The program is “very flexible,” Reid-Metoyer said. “I think the beauty of what we do here at Holy Cross is you get this one-on-one advising from me as the coordinator, and I sit down and I figure out, what are your needs? How quickly do you need or want to do this?”
Dunn said that she recommends taking the Transition to Teaching program route to people interested in becoming a teacher, even over a more traditional route. “I was able to broaden what I was learning while also finding my career being a teacher,” she said.
With increased teacher shortages, Reid-Metoyer said the program is an important way to provide qualified teachers for local schools in a stressful time. “COVID really stuck it to our profession,” she said. “It took an emotional toll on teachers.”
The program is graduating two students this spring, with three more in the program’s pipeline and plans to expand the program further in the future.
“We’re Holy Cross,” Reid-Metoyer said. “We’re small, though I like to say small but mighty.”