Faculty, Experience, and Community | 3 Aspects of the School of Education
As you consider earning a degree in education you may be asking yourself: How are Christian and secular universities different? If I choose a Christian university, will I be prepared for my vocation? Will my classes be the only thing I can focus on? Finding a college is hard. You will spend four years of your life and thousands of dollars to earn a degree; the last thing you want is to waste your time at a college that isn’t right for you.
At Maranatha, it is our mission to give our students a rigorous and well-rounded education that is grounded in Christian principles. When you graduate you will be prepared to teach in both public and private schools, but more importantly, you will be grounded in your faith. Maranatha offers you a community that you will be a part of for the rest of your life. Our faculty, advisors, and staff work together to ensure that our students are prepared for their vocation, are given opportunities, and have fun along the way.
Our Education faculty are committed to training the future generation of Christian educators. Small class sizes and a 12:1 student/faculty ratio enable our teachers to invest in their students. This unique opportunity allows students to be mentored as they grow in their knowledge and skills. Our faculty do everything in their power to help students reach their goals.
Dr. Thomas Graham, Dean of the School of Education, describes their mission as, “training students who have surrendered their lives to the ministry of teaching, by equipping them with the tools both professionally and technically, to be able to communicate the truth with their students.”
The experience and care of our faculty provide students with the training they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom. Maranatha’s professors all have years of experience in their fields enabling them to best equip their students with the skills they need to begin their own careers in teaching. Furthermore, our professors see their position as their ministry.
Mr. Michael Zwolanek, Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “A big thing that teachers are about is mentoring and that’s way beyond content.” Mr. Zwolanek explained that his position as a teacher is his avenue for ministry.
Our faculty are student-focused. A unique aspect of Maranatha’s small class sizes is the ability of the faculty to not only teach, but also mentor their students. Camille Fink, a sophomore Elementary Education major, described her favorite teacher, Mrs. Regina Delozier. “She’s there for us any time if we were to go talk to her. She’s fully invested and just wants us to succeed.” Our faculty are always ready to help push their students to be the best that they can be. They work tirelessly to help their students find opportunities and follow the Lord’s leading in their lives.
Teaching is a challenging profession. At Maranatha, we seek to prepare our students for the challenges they will face. We believe that our students must grow in their skills, but also their faith to have a lasting impact on the world. To accomplish this, our faculty strive to keep Christ at the center of their classrooms.
Often new graduates are sent into the professional world with a diploma, but no practical knowledge of what they have learned. However, at Maranatha we want our students to be prepared as they enter their first year of teaching. Interactive, hands-on learning inside the classroom is essential in this program. Fink shared, “We’re allowed to have a lot of class time. It’s not just lectures; it’s hands-on learning.” We want our Education students to not only learn about what it takes to teach but also to put their knowledge into practice.
Annelies Harmon (’13, Music Education) said, “MBU’s focus on musical excellence and rigorous academics prepared me for the daily classroom skills needed to teach all age groups. The hands-on experience gained while teaching early childhood music at Kiddie Kampus and trips to observe master teachers in our field proved invaluable as I jumped straight into teaching general music.”
To gain practice, our Education students are required to complete fieldwork every school year. Fieldwork provides students with the opportunity to use the knowledge they have learned in the classroom in real teaching situations.
Megan (Leaf) Tucker (’18 Math Education) explained, “The education program gave me many opportunities to work in classroom settings (even before student teaching), as well as simulating the experience of teaching in a few of my other classes. I felt very confident heading into my student teaching placement, and I believe this helped me improve my teaching skills even after I left campus.”
Students are given time to observe classrooms and learn from experienced teachers. Fieldwork opportunities allow students to see a variety of teaching styles and learn what will work best for them. This aspect of the Education program prepares students for what they will face when they are teachers, while also putting them in situations to discover their own teaching style. Our faculty strive to ensure that when our education students graduate, they are equipped to enter their own classrooms with confidence.
Building relationships is one of the most important aspects of the college experience. The friendships made in college can last a lifetime. Maranatha provides many opportunities for our students to build relationships and a Christian community regardless of their major. Every aspect of student life is designed to be an atmosphere of encouragement and character-building. Whether it’s society events, sports involvement, or music, students have opportunities to grow spiritually and build lasting relationships.
We want our students to be involved. Do you enjoy sports? Join one of Maranatha’s ten sports teams. Do you love music? Try out for choir or take personal enrichment lessons. Maybe you’re interested in leadership; run for student body council or society president. The small campus environment provides opportunities for everyone to be involved. Maranatha believes in giving students opportunities to use their talents and gifts beyond their area of study.
Adam Love (’19, Math Education; ’20, MEd) said, “MBU provided me with a wide range of opportunities that expanded outside my field of study. My experiences in student leadership gave me a taste of what it takes to lead organizationally as well as interpersonally as I deal with my students on a daily basis. Maranatha showed me that leadership is about the person not the position, and I learned that from the professors and mentors in my life.”
We believe in the value of a well-rounded education. Education majors don’t have to just study in the School of Education. We encourage our students to pursue opportunities beyond their comfort zone to succeed and grow spiritually, creatively, and academically.
To learn more about the School of Education and your future opportunities at Maranatha, click here.