Karen Sheble, Teacher Education Program
I've been working at NOVA for four years. Prior to NOVA, I worked as a teacher for 24 years in the Fairfax and Loudoun County Public School Systems, mentoring a lot of student teachers along the way. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to work at NOVA -- to train students who want to become teachers.
My specialty is pedagogy. It's a method of teaching in which students study a lot of different teaching and learning styles so they're not just learning information, they're also learning how to teach the information. I think that's very important. I have my students do a lot of collaborative work. I refer to it as "jig sawing" - when students take the information they learned and then teach that information in my class. I want my students to think along the lines of not what am I learning, but how can I teach what I learned? How can I help my future students learn?
A valuable course for aspiring teachers is EDU 200. It covers every aspect of teaching. In addition, students get to take 40 hours of field placement. The field placement allows them to determine whether or not they really want to teach before they transfer and get deeper into their major. It also helps them determine what grade level they want to teach because they can break down their 40 hours to 20 hours in elementary and 20 hours in high school or whatever combination they want.
A great thing about our teacher education specialization associates degree - is that NOVA has aligned our curriculum with the endorsement courses that are required by the state. So no matter what university our students transfer to within the state, they are taking exactly the same courses as freshmen and sophomores at the four-year institutes. Due to the current success of the Teacher Education Program, I am excited that we are expanding the program this fall to the Woodbridge Campus and adding more sessions at the Annandale Campus.