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New Adolescence Education Master's Degree at Rockland is Ideal for Career Changers


Hudson Graduate Center at Rockland,
Long Island University

If your career path has turned into a bumpy road, the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University is offering degrees in second chances.

An Adolescence Education master's program opens opportunities for those who have undergraduate degrees in English, social studies, math or science, and want to become state-certified teachers.

Alisa Peano intended on earning her undergraduate degree in education, but because she excelled in math she was steered away from that pursuit and earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in accounting.

“I listened to the wrong people” said the Highland Mills, NY, resident who had a successful career at an accounting firm. “I did well in my studies and career but I was never personally fulfilled.”

When she returned to her job after the birth of her daughter, a spark was re-lit the day Peano was asked to train colleagues on a new computer system.

“It was so exciting to see people get it,” she said of the teaching process. “I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time. People were telling me, 'You are really good at this, you should teach for a living,' and I thought, 'Yes, I should'.”

So after the birth of her son, Peano and her husband had a long talk about her future.

“I wanted to go back to work, but not in accounting,” she said. “I knew it was time for a career change and with the kids being so little, I felt it was a now-or-never situation.”

Peano said she thought immediately of the nearby education program at the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University in Orangeburg, NY. She had earned her master's degree in accounting from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University and was pleased with her experiences there.

“I knew I wanted to teach math,” she said, “and the advisor suggested a new adolescence education program. It was a perfect fit."

Long Island University administrators had students just like Peano in mind when they created the Master of Science in Education program, with a specialization in Adolescence Education (grades 7-12). Offering a wide range of courses, the M.S.Ed. in Adolescence Education is designed to educate and train new teachers who have a strong undergraduate background in certain subjects.

“The Adolescence Education Program is especially appealing to change-of-career professionals interested in a rewarding line of work like teaching,” said Dr. Nancy T. Goldman, program director of Curriculum and Instruction. “Teaching offers a more balanced lifestyle for those who are trying to juggle family and work life. That's a critical issue for those who are looking for a new occupation.”

To be admitted to the program, students must have pursued a concentration on an undergraduate level in one of these majors: English, math, social studies or one of the sciences (biology, chemistry, earth science or physics). The 33-credit Master's degree program will lead to initial teaching certification in New York State. It meets New Jersey certification requirements.

The master's program affords students who have never taught before the opportunity to equip themselves with hands-on skills and knowledge through student teaching at middle and high schools.

“Our program provides a thorough developmental and theoretical framework while it explores various teaching methods,” Goldman said.

And with New York State facing a dire shortage of math and science teachers, the program is especially appealing for those who have that background and would now like to share their knowledge with middle or high school students.

Classes are offered in the evening and in some cases on weekends, allowing students to balance their studies with work and family responsibilities. Professors are accessible and dedicated to helping students succeed. Courses are challenging and stimulating, and curricula are up to date with the latest trends, advances and research. A state-of-the-art Model Classroom is available on the Campus for students to learn about the latest teaching techniques.

Transitioning from full-time working mother to full-time student took some cooperation, according to Peano. Her husband, Michael, and other family members pitched in to help with childcare when Peano needed to attend classes or study.

“My attitude is that going to school is my job and I need to do the best I can at my job to become the best teacher I can,” she said. Peano hopes to graduate in May 2008. She'll begin student teaching this January.

“I definitely feel prepared,” she said, “but I'm nervous too. I know I'm getting the tools I need to teach. Now I just have to go and do it.”

For more information about the Adolescence Education program visit the Rockland Graduate Campus Web site: www.liu/edu/rockland. For admissions information call (845) 359-7200, ext. 5403.

“Teaching won't just be a job for me,” Peano said. “I think it will have more meaning at the end of my life. I'll be able to look back and say, 'Wow, I made a really good choice.'”

Posted 08/15/2007

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