For the Love of Learning: Education Department Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers

September 4, 2023

The Education Department at Florida College has a strong legacy of excellence, statewide and beyond. As one of the school’s first bachelor degree programs, the Education Department helps students develop the perspectives, skills, and experience needed for a thriving career in Elementary Education, Education Studies or Math Education.

Suzanne Roberts, Elementary Education Faculty Chair, said a Biblical worldview, small class sizes, rigorous course loads and diverse internship opportunities set the program apart.

“One of the advantages of the program is its relatively small size, so students get close to each other and their instructors from day one,” she said, noting an average cohort size of 10 students. “You also won’t find grad students or adjunct faculty teaching courses. Our faculty are full-time professors, two of which have worked as elementary school principals, so they’re very knowledgeable and hands-on.”

Roberts said graduates have a 100 percent job placement rate, partly because of the State of Florida’s stringent requirements for teacher education. Elementary Education students graduate K-6 Certified, Reading Endorsed and ESL Certified — recent State requirements for teachers of Language Arts and Lower Elementary.

“Teachers often have to go back and get additional training, but our grads come out ready,” Roberts said.

The Program also puts students in the classroom every semester, starting freshman year.

“Most courses have a field component, starting from one hour a week in the beginning,” she said. “We want students to get into schools, see what’s happening, and get a feel for what they’re signing up for.”

By junior year, students devote one day a week to internships, while seniors are in schools two days a week.

Savannah Vrooman, a 2023 Elementary Education graduate, said the program is highly challenging but equally supportive.

“The Education Program is unique, since we’re a small group with four professors who are heavily involved and who always respond to texts or emails,” said Vrooman, who accepted a position teaching third grade at a Temple Terrace charter school. “Because I had to do three separate internships that were continually rigorous, I’m about to be a teacher and don’t feel lost or afraid. They go above and beyond to prepare you for a career in teaching, whether it’s at a Title 1 or a Grade A school.”

Chloe Sneed, a 2023 Elementary Education graduate now teaching at The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, credits the program’s student:teacher ratio for her preparedness.

“Smaller classes mean our professors truly know our strengths, weaknesses and goals,” she said. “They answer any questions, provide support and invest in us personally. They taught us to be professional, caring and hard-working educators, and prepared me to enter the workforce and secure what is truly my dream job.”

Certified by the State, FC’s Math Education Program qualifies graduates to teach in any 6-12 Florida public school, with reciprocity to other states. The Education Studies degree is an option for students who wish to specialize in history, biology or reading. While not yet certified, the Education Studies Program includes two internship levels and provides training in everything from lesson planning to classroom management and testing.

“Students might get a Bachelor of Arts in History elsewhere and theoretically can teach, but they’d have to go through alternative certification and graduate with no experience in the classroom,” Roberts explained.

Education Studies graduates also can pursue broader careers outside the public school classroom including tutoring, advising or managing community education programs.

“Our mission is to graduate students who possess not only skill and knowledge but who exhibit Biblical qualities of care, character and commitment,” Roberts said. “We have schools begging us for graduates and that are very willing to work with our interns because they see the quality of teachers FC produces.”

To learn more about our education department, click here.