Hunter Werts wasn’t sure he wanted to be a teacher. When he first came to the College, he was so busy taking classes and working a 30-hour-a-week job that he felt overwhelmed much of the time. Then, he learned about scholarship possibilities for secondary education majors, and his world changed.
“I started out concentrating on pre-med studies,” he says. “It hit me that I was actually teaching all the time – particularly with my friends and my roommates. I had been teaching them Spanish, or biology or some concept related to their classes. I realized that if I could teach college students, it shouldn’t be too hard to make the transition to teaching high school.”
But Hunter had no idea how to declare secondary education as his major. “So,” he says, “I just walked into the Office of Student Services in the School of Education, Health and Human Performance and said, ‘What do I need to do? I want to teach.’ The staff there was great, they helped me figure out what requirements I needed and how to find scholarships.”
Though biology is Hunter’s main academic interest, his degree will qualify him for certification to teach a broad range of high school science courses. “The way the College prepares you, you end up ready to teach physics, chemistry, physical science or biology. All those are included because, for this degree, you have to take calculus, one year of physics and one year of chemistry – including the labs. The department wants us to be very versatile as teachers when we graduate.”
His experience in this program, Hunter says, has taught him more than just the content he’ll need to know as a teacher. He’s also learned how to go about teaching it.
“One of the things I really like about this major is that the classes I’ve taken are participation heavy, and that really suits me. I like getting up in front of a group and sharing my thoughts and ideas. I’ve also had some great professors. One in particular has the driest sense of humor. I intend to model my teaching style after the way he teaches his students. He so saturates you with information, you have no choice but to learn something – and it all comes to you with a little humor mixed in.”
Our program develops exceptional teachers who mold and prepare future generations of learners and leaders. The secondary education cognate major is available to students who major in biology, chemistry, English, history, mathematics, physics, political science and sociology.
Not only do our students succeed in obtaining multiple job offers before graduation, they demonstrate the strength of their preparation by remaining in the profession: More than 90 percent of our alumni are still in the classroom after 10 years.
- Our graduates are in demand: South Carolina school districts actively seek out and hire them.
- Our students benefit from clinical and field experiences in urban, suburban and rural settings where diverse socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds converge.
- Our Teaching Fellows program augments education through retreats and professional development experiences not available at many other colleges.
Meta Van Sickle