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Inaugural graduates of TCU Teach shed light on the master’s program

TCU Teach Masters Certification

By Shelley Hulme for TCU This Week

In May, the College of Education graduated its first cohort of TCU Teach, a program offering new college graduates and working professionals the opportunity to earn a master’s degree and teaching certificate in less than one year.

The 30-hour program includes on-campus classes at TCU and student teaching placement in one of the university’s partner districts. If you’ve thought about a career in teaching or are curious about the benefits and challenges of an intensive master’s program, this Q&A is for you.

Meet Mark Brem, Isaiah Johnson, Colin Kantor, Carter Kilpatrick and Macie Slocum, members of the inaugural TCU cohort, all of whom have secured teaching positions in area K-12 schools.

TCU: What was your life like pre-TCU?

Brem: My attention was centered around work and trying to find a better job in a challenging economy. I spent four unproductive years working at a bank before being given the opportunity to work as an IT contractor training federal employees about inventory management and software systems. Teaching people in this capacity led me to consider a career in education and TCU Teach provided the path to that goal.

Johnson: I spent six years in the U.S. Army before earning my bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, doing some graduate coursework at Oklahoma State University and working for a few years in the oil and gas industry. The fast pace of TCU Teach afforded me the opportunity to put my diverse experience to work, first in my clinical teaching placement and now as I begin my career in education.

Kilpatrick: I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2015 with a degree in supply chain management, but after working for a few years, decided the corporate world wasn’t for me. I decided to make a switch and pursue teaching, which was something I’d always thought about doing.

Slocum: I had just earned my bachelor’s degree and was planning to attend nursing school when I was presented with the opportunity to do an internship in exercise science at an area high school—and I loved it! When my dad, a TCU alum, told me about the new TCU Teach program, I knew it was for me.

TCU: What about the program appealed to you?

Brem: As a professional in career transition, the fast pace of the program was what I needed.

Kantor: TCU Teach provided the in-person approach I desired, versus other intensive programs that are exclusively online. I always knew I wanted to teach—although initial plans were at college level—and the positive peripheral experiences I had with high school education as an undergrad, translated into a career goal; I quickly relocated from North Carolina to Texas.

TCU: What was the best thing TCU Teach taught you?

Brem: Our diverse backgrounds allowed us to share strengths and offer solutions learned from individual life experiences to help solve potential problems that could arise in our classroom. Also, the leadership of our student teaching adviser enhanced the overall experience.

Kantor: The biggest takeaway is knowing what to expect when I walk into my class on the first day. TCU Teach puts you in a school right away, allows you to develop relationships with students and fellow teachers, and experience the natural ebbs and flows of a school. I genuinely feel prepared and am confident about my first year of teaching.

Kilpatrick: The small size of our group great, and our varied backgrounds and ages provided a wonderful opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other and share our different school experiences. Also, the professors are open and engaging, which allowed for candid conversations.

Slocum: As someone who went immediately from undergraduate to graduate work, I didn’t have the work experience of my cohort colleagues and didn’t know what to expect from the fast pace of the program. Initially, I was afraid to make suggestions and felt like all I did was ask questions. Now, I know I am where I’m supposed to be. I’m not afraid to take chances, and I am confident in my abilities to help the kids in my classroom learn and grow.

TCU: What would you tell friends or family members about this program if they are considering a career in teaching?

Johnson: TCU Teach—the program and the people—provided the tools and experience that helped me get my dream job; I could not be more grateful. My choices to intentionally seek out TCU and become an educator are validated.