The education minor was infamous at Wheaton for being one of the most rigorous minors to complete. At the start of this year, it was turned into a major. Erika Prince, ’15, states, “Double majoring is very common.” She is currently completing a double major, as is Michelle Menacho ’17. Menacho points out the benefits of the newfound education major: “Education is the only major that allows you to have a license in your career when you graduate at Wheaton…so as soon as I graduate, it’ll be easier for people to hire me.”
To get this license, it’s necessary to complete a number of tests, including the education-specific MTELS. One of them, comprehension and literature, is required for all. Prince recalls that these are very much “like the SATs”, and they have similar requirements and standards mapped out online at the MTEL website. However, she notes that preparing is “really a self-driven process.” The others vary, depending on the focus of the student, whether primary education, elementary education, or secondary education.
All the education majors have to complete a semester student teaching at one of the local schools in Norton. Menacho, focusing on secondary education with a second major in Hispanic Studies, states, “I get to decide between Norton Middle School and Norton High School. First I’m going to be able to observe a classroom in the middle school – a Spanish classroom, to be specific – and I’ll get to observe a class in the high school and pick which one I like most.”
In preparation for this semester of student teaching, Prince started in the fall, as do most others. “Once a week you go for three hours in your classroom to observe, so the students get a feel for you…we also take a seminar course that prepares us for classroom plans. That [course] was actually the most informative for teaching actual classes that I’ve taken for my major.” Though the major is very time consuming with the inclusion of student teaching, it is extremely beneficial for students who want to gain experience before graduation.