“If you don’t know the first names of your students within a month, shame on you,” states Immaculata professor of education David Brennan, Ed.D. He is referring to the often-repeated mantra he tells his student-teachers: get to know your students.
Having spent nearly 30 years serving at all levels within the education field, including teacher, vice principal, and principal, Brennan arrived at Immaculata 16 years ago. He teaches education courses and serves as the director of undergraduate education and director of the student-teaching program.
Immaculata recently added a new Associate of Arts degree in education in addition to the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees offered. Brennan sees the associate degree as a way for people who are already working in the field, perhaps at the day care level, to start the process of earning college credit toward their teaching degree and then continue on to receive their bachelor degree and teaching certification if they choose to do so.
“We gear those classes to specifically meet the needs of workers who are working in that setting [Pre-K-4],” he adds.
“CAPS students bring a whole different atmosphere to the classroom,” Brennan states. “They bring experience to our undergrads who are just out of high school,” he explains. “These people have a nice perspective because they’ve been working… been in another career and can bring that experience to our undergraduates.”
One of those CAPS students who Brennan taught is Tamara Young ’16, B.A. in education, with Pre-K to 4. She is currently working as a para educator at Pottsgrove School District and credits Brennan, and her CAPS advisor Kate Commiskey, for guiding her through the program. “They never tired of talking with me and meeting with me during life challenges that would arise. Dr. Brennan worked with me to assure my student teaching was a success,” Young says.
One of the benefits of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education from Immaculata is that the students conduct observations during the first semester of their sophomore year, which is earlier than most education programs. Brennan arranges for the students to observe at five different schools that range from public, Catholic, private, and charter. He wants the students to experience the classroom in various settings.
With aptitude in different environments, Immaculata students will make teachers who can be flexible, and meet the needs of all students’! According to Brennan, flexibility is the number one trait a teacher should possess (along with knowing their students’ names)!