The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) English program is one of the eight graduate degree programs offered at Clayton State University.
The MAT in English is a one-year program, designed to meet the needs of busy professionals, which is why all MAT classes are offered during the evening. Each MAT student is placed into a local middle or high school for one full school year, where he or she will complete his or her practicum and internship. Clayton State University is currently partnering with the Clayton and Rockdale County School Systems to help students to fulfill this requirement. The internship program is designed to allow MAT students to gain first hand classroom experience. Under the supervision of an experienced teacher and with the guidance from professors in the MAT program, students enter their profession with the confidence needed to be an excellent and effective teacher.
Eric Simmons is a current MAT student as well as a graduate of Clayton State’s undergraduate English program. He began his practicum in the spring 2010 at Morrow Middle School and then moved on to Morrow High School. His teacher mentors at Morrow High School were Mrs. Moore-McBride and Mrs. Showers. From his time at Morrow Middle and Morrow High, Eric learned the importance of classroom management, lesson plan organization, and how to connect with students in a meaningful way.
“You need to be able to think quickly on your feet in the event that lesson plans, activities, or the day in general, does not go as planned,” he says. “In those events, it is important not to become rattled and to calmly transition to an alternative assignment.”
Simmons was also able to see first hand how instruction needs to center around the abilities and interest of the students.
“My practicum experience at Clayton State University was a very positive one,” he says. “I had the ability to work in classroom settings ranging from a seventh grade language arts collaborative classroom to a 10th grade Honors English course.”
These experiences enabled Simmons, and will enable future teachers, to fully prepare for the challenges they face in the classroom.
“I want this program to help improve the quality of English education not only in our surrounding counties but also beyond,” says MAT English Program Coordinator Dr. Ruth Caillouet, describing some of the program’s goals. “I want our graduates to help re-think the way that writing and literature are being taught in America's schools. This is a chance to help change lives by making it possible for future educators to finally get their dream of teaching English. I want this program to give back to the community and help improve Georgia classrooms.”
Caillouet’s eagerness to help future teachers improve the way in which they teach English brings a refreshing viewpoint to Clayton State University’s MAT in English Program. Under her direction, students will learn how to, “impact the future of our country [and] to take part in strengthening our schools. The practicum and internship program at Clayton State University offers a unique experience for students to fully embrace the teaching experience.”