America's education system is vulnerable — desperately in need of skilled, innovative, and empathetic educators who have the ability to prepare students for success, both inside and outside the classroom.
In response to this need, Marymount University offers several graduate Education programs that require students to complete over 100 hours of field experience before their semester of student teaching, giving them a competitive edge and hands-on work experience before they enter the classroom.
Most schools highlight their field experience opportunities in their recruitment materials and notes, and it’s a big part of what you’ll actually rely on when preparing to go into the job market for your first teaching job. So, why is it some programs put the field experience secondarily, or on the sidelines of the degree, almost as an afterthought? What is the reasoning for including field experience? How much is the right amount?
Here are some reasons why field experience is so crucial for your teaching career.
1. Field experience gives you hands-on work experience.
Experiential learning — or learning by doing — is one of the most valuable ways to prepare yourself to thrive as a future educator. By gaining hours of field experience before entering the classroom, you will start your student teaching semester with practical, hands-on classroom management experience, which is incredibly valuable when preparing yourself to positively impact the lives of students.
Pro Tip: Hear from one student who is earning her master's degree in Special Education at Marymount University: Empowering Myself with a Special Education Degree — Teresa's MEd Journey.
2. Field experience is where you’ll test out all your new skills.
Before you land that long-term teaching role, imagine that you get a chance to interact with many different roles and elements of a school, providing assistance to different groups of teachers, getting immediate feedback and guidance as you test out and grow your teaching and classroom management skills.
This experience of real-time mentoring and feedback is the best grounding for continued growth in an education career, where you’ll always be seeking feedback and skill-building in the context of interactions with other seasoned educators.
Pro Tip: Considering how you're going to finance your education degree? Here are 7 Scholarships for Future Teachers Seeking an MEd.
3. Having field experience will give you the confidence to succeed during your student teaching semester.
Many students getting a master's degree in education will talk about the challenges of jumping right into a classroom experience as a lead or primary teacher. With your field experience coming before the student teaching experience, you’ll feel confident and ready to transform the lives of your students — both inside the classroom and beyond.
Getting field experience will build confidence and a chance for hands-on practice, which becomes invaluable when preparing for and securing a student teaching opportunity.
Pro Tip: For some test prep advice, check out these 6 Helpful Resources When Preparing for the Praxis and VCLA Exams.
4. Field experience offers you chances for valuable mentorship.
By gaining field experience before you’re given your own classroom as a student teacher, you’ll be put into contact with many of the most seasoned and wise teachers and staff in our partner school district. With these relationships, you’ll build a network of seasoned teachers that you can turn to with questions, challenges, and concerns — beyond your network of professors. This becomes crucial when you’re in your early days of student teaching.
These relationships will be foundational for your entire teaching career, and the chance to work in various environments could even lead to job opportunities down the road, with your MEd in hand.
Pro Tip: If you're seriously considering transforming your teaching career with a graduate degree, check out our article: 3 Things to Think About When Considering an MEd.
5. Gain a competitive edge when it comes to marketing your experience for your first post-degree teaching job.
Since not every master's degree in education offers field experience, this is a selling point and an edge that will benefit you in job interviews. In a vulnerable field like education that needs true leaders, you’ll stand out with your cumulative field experiences. Also, garnering recommendation letters from all the different teachers and mentors that you’ve worked with can be an advantage in landing the teaching job you want after graduating.
Pro Tip: Read Pros and Cons of a Master of Education Degree (Instead of Just a Teaching Certificate) to learn more about the value of an MEd.
By enrolling in Marymount MEd program, you'll obtain 100 hours of field experience before your student teaching semester:
As you know, there are many different ways that teachers can be educated and trained for their important work, but some are going to be more beneficial due to the hands-on nature of the program — and how the levels of experience build upon each other.
Marymount University’s respected graduate Education programs, as mentioned above, require that MEd students obtain 100 hours of field experience within the context of its MEd courses, and before the semester of full student teaching. This way, you’ll enter the classroom as a confident, well-connected educator, and this will make your transition into your formal teaching path as smooth as possible.
We invite you to explore the graduate degree programs in Education offered at Marymount:
- Catholic School Leadership (M.Ed. with PK-12 licensure) / Administration and Supervision (M.Ed. with PK-12 licensure)
- Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed. without licensure)
- Elementary Education (M.Ed. with teaching licensure, PK-6)
- Secondary Education (M.Ed. with teaching licensure, 6-12)
- Special Education: General Curriculum (M.Ed. with teaching licensure, K-12)
If you are considering pursuing a master's degree in Education at Marymount University, we'd love to hear from you, and if you have additional questions, we invite you to request more information today!
We invite you to explore our digital resource page — A Guide to Getting a Master of Education Degree — for a comprehensive look at what you need to know before enrolling in an M.Ed. program!