The Pre-Service Program: An Introduction to the Teaching Profession provides twenty-four hours of instruction including clinical observation experiences for candidates seeking a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) in the State of New Jersey in the areas of Elementary Education (K-5), English as a Second Language (ESL), Career and Technology Education (CTE), and N-12 subject areas. Included in the program is a four-hour program of classroom observation or clinical experience that each candidate arranges on his/her own with a school district or other relevant educational entity. Moreover, this non-credit bearing program offers candidates an instructional experience that is totally online with the exception of the 4 hours of clinical experiences noted above. Therefore, candidates must have access to a computer and the Internet. Please note that Thomas Edison State University has extensive experience in distance education as well as non-traditional educational programs and adult students.
Successful completion of this course alone does not guarantee issuance of an instructional certificate; additional requirements apply as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education.
The design of the program is focused on two critical areas:
- An overview of and preparation for the skills and tools needed for the teaching profession, and
- The essential attitude and disposition needed to maintain poise as a novice teacher in diverse communities.
The program consists of ten two-hour instructional sessions (all online and asynchronous), which address the basic components of the teaching profession. Candidates complete two 2-hour sessions per week over a course of five weeks, with the final week reserved for completing documentation of, and reflection upon, the four hours of professional observations as well as development of the portfolio. As the instruction is designed to assist the candidate with limited knowledge of schools, students, indeed teaching in general, each session is extremely practical in nature, providing the potential teacher with key knowledge and skills needed to enter the profession.
In addition to the ten sessions, candidates initiate and complete a four-hour clinical experience with a school district that allows them to observe teachers at work in the classroom. Thomas Edison State University does not arrange this clinical experience; students make their own arrangements. The University, however, is able to verify to the relevant school district that the student does need to complete this requirement. Upon completion of the four clock hours of classroom observation, the school district selected provides the University with documentation that the student has completed the assignment, including a portfolio with a teacher observation report and other materials describing the student's activities in the school.
In addition to the clinical experience, candidates develop a lesson plan at an appropriate grade level and in a chosen subject field or program area. They also submit as part of the course work a cover letter and resume reflecting their interest in a teaching position and accurately describing their competencies and skills. Furthermore, candidates develop a statement (500 words) of their philosophy of education, one which reflects a responsible professional foundation for teaching. These documents are then included in a personal professional portfolio, which is submitted to Thomas Edison State University upon completion of the course. Additionally, students are given access to the Foliotek electronic portfolio assessment system for the creation and publication of professional portfolios, which will be available for candidate use not only during the course, but after completion of the Pre-Service Program as well.
Why Online Learning?
- Learning occurs in a user-friendly environment and is accessible to students with little or no computer experience
- Online courses provide the knowledge and tools needed to stay ahead in today's rapidly changing professional marketplace
- Online education allows students to access their courses from anywhere there is an Internet connection, even while traveling for business or on vacation
- Flexibility: Students can attend class in the comfort and convenience of their own home, office, library, or internet café, and complete assignments at their convenience
- Cost-effective: expenses related to facilities and travel, as well as non-productive time, are reduced
- Relevance: As K-12 teaching relies so heavily on technology, the online delivery format of this program is completely relevant to 'real-world' professional practice.
The online delivery of the program requires that students have access to a computer and are proficient at using e-mail, communicating online, participating in discussion groups and conducting online research. On the plus side, the online format ensures that students have the most current information in the field available to them as they learn the skills needed to succeed in today's increasingly specialized teaching profession.