Undergraduates from the Johns Hopkins University now have a way of pursuing a career in teaching without switching to another school or attending a teachers' college after graduation.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Continuing Studies has introduced an Accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching program this summer to recruit students in Hopkins and from other private institutions as potential teachers before they pursue graduate degrees.
"The aim of the program is to get bright undergraduates in liberal arts to consider a career in teaching," said Toni Ungaretti, the program's coordinator.
The school is completing an agreement with Baltimore schools to employ the students in the fall after they graduate. Participants would be hired as teachers but would be under the supervision of a mentor throughout the year.
"The program would allow the city to gain a work force without compromising standards," Mrs. Ungaretti said.
The program allows students with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 and a 3.0 in their major to explore teaching before they graduate, said Dianne Tobin, the director of the division of education in the School of Continuing Studies and the coordinator of teacher education. Students take summer courses that are required for teacher certification at Johns Hopkins after their junior and senior years.
Students visited Baltimore city and county schools last month to observe elementary- and middle-school teaching, and they also observed the Dunbar Summer Scholar Program for ninth-grade students held at Hopkins.
Lisa Greening, a senior from St. Louis majoring in international studies, said she had enrolled in the program because she wanted to work in Baltimore schools after graduation. "The curriculum at Hopkins is oriented around changing the system," she said. "You learn how you should teach and inspire."
Brenda Conley, director of human resources and labor relations for theBaltimore City schools, said, "The program was developed to fill some positions in areas of critical shortage and to increase the quality of the pool of candidates."
She estimated that the city would try to hire nearly 400 teachers this year, especially elementary-school teachers and secondary-school mathematics and science teachers. The Johns Hopkins program certifies students to teach in elementary schools or to become secondary-school teachers in English, math, science or social studies.
Before the program was introduced at Hopkins, students who were interested in teaching would take classes at local colleges and universities that had education departments, or they would become involved in the Children's Tutorial Project for inner-city children. The director of the tutorial project, Weslie Wornom, said the new program would strengthen the tutorial project because students would have another education outlet.
Graduate students constituted a large percentage of the classes this summer.