The secondary certification program in English is built on a foundation of strong content knowledge preparation in the English major supplemented by rigorous certification coursework. For many years the English Department has maintained and updated its own checksheet for English majors pursuing secondary certification; the Education Department also tracks student progress in the certification program in a checksheet of its own. It is important to note that while these forms do not look the same, the requirements they communicate are consistent. One is simply designed to ensure that students complete the requirements of their major while the other is used to ensure compliance with stated certification requirements.
What do English majors need to do if they would like to pursue secondary teacher certification in Pennsylvania before graduating from Gettysburg College? Follow these steps below to ensure that all requirements are met:
- Register with us and get an Education Advisor. Every student registered with the Education Department is assigned to a faculty advisor in the Department. Essentially, all students seeking certification or pursuing a minor in Educational Studies will have two formal faculty advisors--one in the major, and one in Education. To get this process started, interested students should stop by the Education office in Weidensall Hall (Room 106) and fill out a short form. Once you have an advisor, set up a meeting to discuss the particulars.
- Begin taking classes. The course sequence required for all certificate-seekers includes: Education 209 (Foundations of Education), Education 201 (Educational Psychology), Education 299 (Language, Culture, and Immigration), Education 340 (Teaching Students with Diverse Needs), Education 405 (Student Teaching Seminar), and Education 476 (Student Teaching). Students should begin by taking either Education 209 or Education 201.
- In addition to the required Education courses, students seeking certification must also complete a number of other curricular requirements. All students must complete a writing course, a course in British or American literature, and two college-level math courses before applying to student teach.
- Apply for the Education Semester. At Gettysburg College, we call the semester you spend student teaching the "Education Semester" in a nod to the history of the idea. The Education Semester was conceived in the 1960s when it was still unusual for student teachers to suspend all other academic work while completing the teaching internship; until then, student teaching was really only a part-time affair. Because the Education Semester is so demanding we expect students to focus solely on student teaching during this semester and encourage careful planning to ensure that they are properly prepared intellectually, emotionally, and even physically for the demands of teaching. With regard to the careful planning piece, applications for the Education Semester must be received by no later than October 15 of the year before the planned Education Semester. For most students, this is in the fall semester of the junior year. Students who wish to student teach in a Ninth Semester may apply as late as October 15 of the senior year.
- Note that certain additional requirements must be met in order for an Education Semester application to be successful; at minimum, these include passing required basic skills examinations (or their equivalent), maintaining a grade point average of 3.0, and completing the writing, literature, and math coursework described above.
- Complete remaining coursework. if your application for student teaching is successful, you should plan to use your junior year to complete courses required for your major, the Gettysburg Curriculum, and/or certification. Stay in contact with your Education Advisor to make sure you keep all the necessary boxes checked.
- Student teach. Most students will student teach in the fall of the senior year, though others may complete the Education Semester immediately after graduation if a Ninth Semester is elected.
Additional information about the requirements for certification in English is available on the checksheet for secondary English certification, which can be downloaded by clicking the link below.
Guidelines for Secondary Certification in English (fillable dotx template)