Celebrating New Teachers Completing their Credential Program
Person Theater's house was filled last week with people gathered to celebrate a new group of teachers who have completed their credential programs at Sonoma State. This group of students will move on to work as public school teachers in elementary, middle and high schools in California. Most have completed the program over the course of two or three semesters, including many hours of work in clinical practice, working with a mentor teacher and a university faculty supervisor to gain the important practical experience needed to begin their career as a teacher.
Dean of Education Carlos Ayala and President Ruben Arminana delivered opening remarks for the evening's celebration. Faculty from the School of Education's Credential Programs spoke, offering kind and supportive words to the students as they begin their teaching careers. A student speaker from each program offered remarks at the ceremony: Sarah Kremple, Yasha Mokaram and Jaime Alexander each spoke about their own experience in the program, and their passion for teaching.
In her address to the Multiple Subject Credential Candidates, Dr. Susan Campbell noted that this is an exceptional group of motivated teachers saying, "You have also taken your own students beyond their immediate worlds and shown them how to be active citizens in a humane democracy. With your guidance and leadership, your elementary students have cleaned up local creeks, sent letters to active military personnel, sent food and cards to needy families, started school recycling programs, and made scarves for residents in eldercare-all this within the umbrella of academic learning as they also learn how to read, write, research, and interact within school. You have changed the world and we are proud of you."
Dr. Viki Montera offered her congratulations to the group who completed the Education Specialist Credential Intern program, "who have earned their credential while also serving as full - time teachers in area schools." Dr. Montera acknowledged the tremendous effort that required, since these Special Education Interns "are responsible for their students' success at work while simultaneously being responsible for their success here at SSU. A balancing act and a remarkable feat."
Dr. Karen Grady acknowledged how challenging it is to earn a credential in California, and offered words of advice to the beginning middle and high school teachers: "
Remember to be kind to adolescents. Even when it is hard to do, put the kids first" and stressed she the importance of maintaining a professional community, advising "...remember that you do not have to manage it all by yourself--the Lone Ranger is actually not a good metaphor for being a great teacher. Find like-minded colleagues, go to conferences, become members of your professional organizations. You will need to do this to be your best, to stay sane and healthy, and to keep growing."
The inspiring ceremony concluded with a slide show of photos of the teachers at their student teaching field sites, and a reception for the graduates and their guests.