For more than a decade, Earlham College has offered the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program to liberal arts and sciences graduates seeking to become educators. The eleven-month program enables its graduates to enter the teaching field upon completion. Anna Einstein’03, M.A.T. ’04, is one of its many success stories. She shares how Earlham has been instrumental in her teaching journey.
EC: What led you to enroll in Earlham’s M.A.T. program?
AE: While attending Earlham as an undergraduate, I watched the M.A.T. program get off the ground. Since I wanted to become a public school teacher, enrolling in the program was a natural segue after finishing my bachelor’s degree. The program was grounded in Quaker principles of equality, simplicity, integrity and community. I was drawn to its cohort model and “small group” nature. Most importantly, I already knew the superb faculty that would be teaching and guiding me.
EC: Which faculty members were particularly significant during the program?
AE: Debbie Rickey, Randall Shrock and Vince Punzo were extremely valuable. I had these teachers during my undergraduate years, and they were part of the reason that I entered the M.A.T. program.
EC: What are some of the strengths of the program?
AE: Each student receives individualized attention to help them find their own voice (or “self”) as a teacher. This idea, taken largely from writer, teacher and activist Parker Palmer, is discussed in great detail during the summer term, before ever entering the classroom. While I found this idea difficult to understand at that point in the program, it has stuck with me over the years. Each year, I find that my voice, or “self”, changes slightly.
The program incorporates phenomenal mentor teachers, who serve as guides and sounding boards. I enjoyed getting acquainted with these skilled educators.
While I haven’t been able to participate in many of the ongoing professional development courses that Earlham offers to teachers, this is a particular strength for those teaching locally.
EC: How did the program prepare you for job hunting?
AE: The faculty set up mock interviews and prepared us for difficult interview questions. Earlham’s cohort model reminded me that I wasn’t going through the interview and hiring process alone. It was reassuring that my colleagues were having the same experiences. We learned from each other.
EC: What is your current position?
AE: I have a minor in Spanish, and teach that at Milford Public School in Milford, Connecticut. I taught seventh grade Spanish for four years at East Shore Middle School. This coming school year, I will be teaching Spanish at Jonathan Law High School.
EC: How did the program prepare you for your position?
AE: It was intensive and challenging, but I knew that each task was helping me get ready for the weeks and months ahead. The daily requirements of teaching, including planning, instruction, assessment and professionalism, were emphasized by the faculty. Both the faculty and mentor teachers modeled good instructional practices that I retained and now bring to my classroom each day.