Today’s early education majors are preparing for a fulfilling career centered on teaching young children. Through concentration in a major field of learning and endorsements, early education majors will gain the knowledge needed to become professionally licensed to teach by the State of Iowa.
Most early education majors find employment in preschools or elementary schools after graduation and licensure. Mount Mercy early education students have graduated to become teachers at Anamosa Strawberry Hill and Manchester Elementary School.
Early childhood education majors are required to complete at least four field experiences prior to student teaching. These experiences provide a variety of levels (K-2), districts, and students as part of the experience. In addition, early education majors are offered a unique opportunity to fulfil student teaching requirements through the university’s Professional Development School (PDS). PDS allows students to take some of their university-level classes at an assigned public school, and then transition directly into the school’s classroom to apply teaching techniques hands-on. Finally, early childhood education majors complete two, eight week placements for student teaching. These placements vary according to individual student need and endorsement being pursued but include PreK, K, first and second grade levels.
Working Portfolio for Education Majors
Education students complete and organize their core assignments from education courses in the teacher education program using Live Text, an electronic assessment system used by the education program at Mount Mercy. At the end of their first course, An Invitation to Teaching, education students are shown how to hyperlink the assignments they have completed to-date into a working portfolio which remains open throughout their tenure at Mount Mercy. Students are encouraged to hyperlink assignments at the end of each term to facilitate screening submission required prior to student teaching.
Senior Education Portfolio
Students enrolled in Education Leadership Seminar while student teaching, are required to complete an electronic portfolio in Live Text. The senior education portfolio is modeled after the initial portfolio that beginning teachers must complete for standard licensure. It is based on the eight Iowa teaching standards and the 42 sub-goals under those standards. Student teachers collect artifacts from their experience as evidence of their work in each standard, and submit their portfolio for feedback and a grade. Student teachers may also share this portfolio with principals during their job search to help them land a great teaching career.
Mount Mercy’s Education Department enjoys an exciting partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University in England. Students from Mount Mercy may visit both Canterbury and London during spring break. While at CCCU students visit local schools in the K-12 system as well as sit in on university classes. During the time spent in London students enjoy sightseeing, theater, and museums. Students from CCCU visit the MMU campus for three-weeks during which they spend time in the Cedar Rapids Schools and attend classes at MMU. CCCU groups also visit Chicago for sightseeing and shopping.
The partnership between CCCU and MMU is growing as faculty will soon collaborate on course content with the possibility of Skyping, and will work together on research and professional presentations at international conferences.
Early education majors have an opportunity to join S-ISEA, a statewide education organization. Students involved in S-ISEA attend conferences and participate in the student program of the Iowa State Education Association. The group is also involved in service learning projects with area youth, hosts speakers and social events to help students and teachers network together.