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Nurture Your Strengths
Move outside your comfort zone to try a new activity; it may help you uncover overlooked strengths. Find a lead at the Activities Fair, held the first Friday every Fall semester and the second Wednesday every Spring semester. Two great choices for future teachers are Teachers of Tomorrow and the Marist Student Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children.
Cultivate Depth of Knowledge
Follow the news on topics that you have a strong interest in, and that might become an area of specialization for you. The professional development sections of LDonline and the United Federation of Teachers have pages with links to well-respected newsletters that will be delivered each week to your email address, free of charge.
Your coursework will be more meaningful if you can relate it to experiences working with children. Look for work in summer camps and summer school programs. These programs regularly recruit Marist College teacher candidates.
Build Your Network
Get as much field experience as you can. Campus Ministry's Community Service projects are a great way to do this. There are placements available in pre-schools, public elementary schools, Catholic K-8 schools, and in after-school programs. Campus Ministry volunteers commit 2 hours of service each week; transportation is provided. Sign-ups happen in the first two weeks of each semester. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy a big box of thank you notes. Emails just can't convey appreciation in the personal way handwritten notes do. Writing them does not have to be a big undertaking; be sure to send a handwritten note of thanks after every field experience.
Develop Your Professional Image
Be vigilant about your online presence. Student teachers have been denied placements because principals found, on long-ago Facebook postings, photos of candidates that suggested something other than maturity and professionalism. Here’s how to keep your postings private and how to remove any potentially embarrassing content.
Showcase Your Technology Skills
Set up an electronic folder with all of your career-related materials. Evernote is a terrific choice.
Learn to use Zotero. This bibliographic tool for capturing, annotating, and organizing research sources will save you many hours and improve your research papers immensely. Georgia State University has a great guide to help you learn to use this free, and invaluable, tool.
Monitor Your Certification Status
Plan to take the New York State Teacher Certification exams according to the schedule recommended by the Education Department unless your advisor suggests something different.
Work With Your Advisor
Your advisor can help clarify your choice of major and consider taking a minor. If you would like to learn about other career choices that might suit you, you can take the one-credit career exploration course offered by Career Services. You can also attend the Majors Fair.
As early as possible, consult your advisor about studying abroad for a semester. Discuss the courses that complement your interests and declare your Pathway.
Seek your advisor’s guidance if you are struggling in a class. He or she can help you find the support you need to succeed.