For every problem, there is an ideal solution.
Texas needs more certified teachers.
The solution just may be the Tarleton Model for Accelerated Teacher Education.
“There were too many schools needing qualified teachers,” said Dr. Laura Estes, who has run the program since 2005. “We were asked by the state what we could do to help, and we came up with a program that is still viable today.”
TMATE has trained more than 2,000 teachers in three dozen educational specialties and sent them to work in 231 school districts across Texas. The pre-internship portion of the program is completed in a single semester, and courses are offered fall, spring and summer.
Structured for working professionals, TMATE offers face-to-face classes on weekday evenings and Saturdays. During those classes, students work with area school districts and spend time actually teaching students. TMATE courses also are available online.
TMATE participants have a choice of clinical co-teaching in a school district for one semester with no pay, or teaching as a paid intern for two semesters. In both situations, they have a school district mentor and a Tarleton field supervisor who monitor their progress, observe their teaching and provide written feedback.
The program has proved vital to school districts throughout the state, as well as to teachers-in-training who came from other jobs to the classroom.
“It has been a blessing for school districts, which now have this incredible pool of teaching talent,” Estes said. “These new teachers come with life experience that helps them connect with their students on a unique level.”
The program was a career solution for Rafael Franco.
Franco graduated from his TMATE cohort four years ago and now teaches Spanish and coaches soccer at Fort Worth’s Carter Riverside High School.
He joined the program with a degree in Spanish from the University of Texas at Arlington.
“From the first day I walked into classes here, the teachers were really helpful to me,” he said. “They made me enjoy my education. I knew then I wanted to do that for the rest of my life.”
Franco, who was a substitute teacher and a waiter prior to his graduation from the program, said the TMATE curriculum and faculty prepared him for his classroom duties.
“The idea was to keep the students engaged, to keep them excited about learning. That was probably the best advice I got.”
New graduate Tracy Moore is a fifth-grade teacher working on her TMATE internship at Alvarado Intermediate School.
“They are very supportive,” she said. “I’d looked at other programs and decided to apply with TMATE. They were very receptive and really good about staying connected with me. I’ve been really happy with the entire experience.”
Moving to Fort Worth from Corpus Christi, where she worked for a charter school, Moore now looks forward to a career in front of students.
“The success we have in the classroom,” she said, “comes from what we learn in TMATE—classroom management, English as a second language, all the things that give us, as teachers, an edge in engaging our students.”
Estes said the program helps new educators like Franco and Moore achieve something professionally that many others may seek.
“They may have been in another job. One they really didn’t plan to be in. This program helps those who have always had a desire to teach. It helps them get to that goal.”
Additionally, TMATE graduates earn master’s degree credit. Some need just a few classes to earn a graduate degree.
“We work for their success,” Estes said. “We want them to be the best teachers they can be.”
For information about TMATE, visit www.tarleton.edu/tmate.