Education graduates celebrate induction into teaching profession
For years, Penelope Gibbs has dreamed of becoming a first-grade teacher, and her dream is about to come true as she celebrates the completion of a semester full of challenges.
“It’s been crazy, but if you want to do something, you do it,” she said. “You don’t let anything get in the way.”
Gibbs of Victoria was among 29 students of the UHV College of Education & Health Professions who graduated this month with bachelor’s degrees in education. They were inducted into the teaching profession at pinning ceremonies on Dec. 8 in Victoria and Dec. 9 in Katy, with dozens of friends, family members and UHV faculty members in attendance. The ceremonies celebrated the students’ completion of their student teaching semester and the UHV teacher education program.
The students have all worked hard to reach this point in their educational journeys to become teachers, said Moira Baldwin, an associate professor of education who organized the event. The students have completed four years of college coursework, including the undergraduate core curriculum requirements and then five semesters in the teaching program. In their last semester, they had to complete 70 days of student teaching, or 10 days if they already work in schools. Students also had to prepare a portfolio about their student teaching semester and pass a series of exams to get their state teaching certifications.
“These students were ready to celebrate,” Baldwin said. “This has been an incredible semester for them. They have worked their tails off for student teaching.”
The student-teaching semester is known to be intense for these students as they balance their other responsibilities with the required days spent working as a student teacher at a school. As part of that requirement, they develop lessons, videotape and analyze their lessons, and then spend several days writing reports about their lessons and student teaching experience to show they are ready to become teachers.
The most difficult aspect of the semester for UHV education senior Krissia Chicas of Cypress was juggling her many responsibilities.
“I’m married with a 5-year-old, so it’s been hard working full time and going to school full time,” she said. “I think that has been the most challenging part.”
Gibbs already worked at a school doing intervention work with students who had fallen behind, so the state required her to spend only 10 days student teaching.
She looks forward to starting her job as a first-grade teacher at Roland Elementary School in Victoria next month.
“It’s been a long time coming, and I never in a million years would have thought I’d be able to accomplish what I’ve accomplished. Plus, I graduated with honors, which I’m extremely proud of since I have been working full time the whole time,” she said, noting how supportive UHV has been along the way.
It’s also been a long road for Chicas since she began her undergraduate coursework in 2011. She looks forward to starting work next month as a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Labay Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
“I’m super happy my schooling is finally coming to an end,” she said. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to start teaching.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.
Staci Semrad, Special to UHV