Today I’m going to blog about my major so you can have some insight to the general outline of what it entails. Also, I’d like to advertise it in case someone can’t decide on a major or is looking to switch majors. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into until I started doing clinicals so hopefully this helps some people out. I just figured it was something I could see myself doing and my assumption was correct. No other career could make me happier than being able to spend time with and teach children that have intellectual disabilities.
Here are some basic facts:
Intellectual disabilities is the new term that was previously referred to as mental disabilities.
The phrase “Children that have intellectual disabilities” = PERSON FIRST LANGUAGE, and is the correct way to phrase a statement like that; saying “The intellectually disabled children” is INCORRECT
ID- Intellectual disability
ED- Emotional disability
LD- Learning disability
A clinical is when you’re assigned a teacher and school for a certain class that you’re taking at Converse. For that class you’ll have certain requirements you’ll have to fulfill at your clinical placement. Some things you’d be doing is observing, teaching lessons to a class, teaching lessons to a specific student, recording data, and having fun dabbling into your future career.
Now here are some facts about getting into this major.
First, the courses you need to take are split up into two benchmarks. Benchmark one consists of intro classes, human growth and development, and reading/language arts in the elementary classroom. There are 6 classes you have to take in benchmark one, and 1 class that can be taken in benchmark 2. After you complete your benchmark 1 you need to have passed your PRAXIS 1, have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, 45 credit hours, and to have completed clinical 1. The PRAXIS 1 is like an SAT (if your SAT’s are high enough you can be exempt from the PRAXIS). The clinical 1 is a 40 hour clinical that goes along with the reading and language arts class. Dr. Washburn typically teaches that and she’s awesome! You’ll find yourself having a good chuckle at least once every class. Anyways, after all that you apply to the teacher education program. Once accepted, you can begin benchmark 2 courses.
I’m in benchmark 2 right now. In benchmark 2 you take math for the child, science for the child, social studies for the child, reading and learning strategies, assessment of exceptional learners, Clinical II (for Intellectual Disabilities- it’s 40 hours), educational procedures for ID, educational procedures for ED, and behavior and classroom management. In addition to these courses I’m also taking educational procedures for LD, Clinical II- LD, and Clinical II- ED. That way I can be certified to teach all three plus elementary education by the time I graduate.
After you finish the benchmark II classes, you must have completed at least 100 clinical hours and then you apply to student teach. I’ll be doing that next spring – I’m super excited, but a tad nervous about the workload since it’ll be taking place during lacrosse season. . .
Student teaching is in Benchmark III. You must student teach for 60 days and it’s a pass or fail grade. You need to take the PRAXIS II for the subjects you’d like to be certified in. For ID it includes the PRAXIS II tests for Education of Exceptional Students/Core Content and Teaching Students with Intellectual Disability. For elementary education the tests include Curriculum Instruction and Assessment and Content Area Exercises. I would also be needing to take the tests for my ED and LD add-ons. And you need to take the PLT- which stands for principles of learning and teaching.
After you’re done with all that you’re on to Benchmark IV, which is completed by your adviser and the director of teacher education and certification. They just make sure you’ve completed everything. So. . . I’ll be on my way to the finish line soon!