Certification program offers chance to teach

Teaching can offer the opportunity to shape young minds and encourage creative thinking and problem solving even if the degree you are pursuing is not in the field of education.

Sam Houston State University’s College of Education has a deal for students looking to use their degree to teach. The Alternative Certification program is available to students who have graduated with a bachelor degree but have decided that instead of going into their respective field they want to teach.

The college does not want just anyone, though.

“We want people who are interested in working with young children and young adults,” said Professor of Curriculum and Instruction for SHSU Dr. Eren Johnson.

The Alternative Certification Program benefits those seeking a career change. “Teaching is steady; it is a stable career and there is always a market,” said Dr. Johnson.

Students like Gina Suttle who went through the program have nothing but praise for it.

“I am an accountant turned teacher,” Suttle said. “This career allows me to be home when my children are home and they are my priority right now.”

Suttle’s success has even impressed her husband Wes who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a minor in math 20 years ago. He is planning on enrolling in the program in the fall but is currently teaching in Corrigan as a permanent substitute.

While lack of pay may be the most prominent reason Texas has a shortage of 50,000 teachers, it is only one of several, bad students is another.

“Public schools don’t celebrate the good kids, and we tend to see and hear about only the negative behavior in the classroom,” said Dr. Johnson.

She cites technology as having a wonderful impact in classrooms today.

“There is so much out there to share with students through the use of technology,” she said.


“Classrooms are no longer filled with students at desks reading books and answering questions at the back of the chapter. Teaching can be exciting through the use of videos, interactive projects through the Internet and hands on activities that challenge students both academically and creatively.”

When asked if traditional education students are better than their non-traditional alternatively educated ones Dr. Johnson said, ” Whichever way you go you bring different things to the job. A student who made a decision early to be a teacher brings youthful enthusiasm to the job. Someone who decides on teaching as a career change brings maturity and perhaps some parental knowledge and experience.”

There are approximately 200 students enrolled in the alternative program, which takes about a year and a half to complete. It allows students to teach while they attend classes, which means you can still get a paycheck while becoming certified.

If this is an idea that interests you check out SHSU’s Spring Teachers Job Fair in the Bernard Johnson Coliseum Wednesday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to dress in business attire.

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