The following is a letter sent to Teaching Credential faculty Al Mendle, Michele Fortes, and Shannon Cannon. It is shared here with permission.
“When you start teaching, it is easy to get caught up in survival mode and you forget all the people who trained you well enough to enable you to keep your head above the water each day. UC Davis has a wonderful program, and I am grateful that I was able to have the highest quality teacher training experience.
“Since getting my credential I have been teaching algebra and geometry at Vintage High School in Napa, CA. I am reminded just how exemplary the UC Davis Teaching Credential program as I sit through professional development and staff trainings that seek to teach me what was taught to me years ago under your guidance. Rarely do I see anything new; almost always I am being reminded of something one of you taught me in the credential or masters classes (this is NOT the same for the teachers around me, they are learning it for the first time). I think this is especially impressive since I have been teaching secondary my entire career even though I went through the multiple subject program, so these “High School Strategies” should be new to me, right? Wrong. Where other programs are teaching you what to teach, you taught me HOW to teach.
“Because of this, I was immediately considered for leadership positions at my site, and I find myself constantly setting the bar for best teaching practices and strategies in my department. This would not have have been possible without you. I have been a content lead for algebra and geometry, a member of the AVID site team, part of a project-based learning research team, and I am in my second year of being a BTSA support provider. My classroom is the go-to for VIP visits and parent tours. I lead the department in student achievement measured by standardized tests and district benchmarks. Other schools try to get me to leave my district and work for them!
“It does not matter that I didn’t attend a mathematics credential program (I tested into the Foundational Math credential) or that I didn’t have a degree in mathematics (my BA is in religious studies and my MA work was on vocabulary instruction in primary grades). UC Davis taught me how to teach, and to teach VERY VERY WELL. I am so proud of that, and wanted to say thank you again, because the last time I said it, I didn’t realize how deeply I would mean it. You don’t just make teachers, you make the BEST teachers. I wouldn’t be able to say I had accomplished any of these things this soon in my career if I hadn’t been taught by the best. The most wonderful part is that most alumni I talk to share similar stories. We are all excelling in our profession!
“You are all wonderful. Thank you for everything you do. I’m more than happy to help out however I can to support the program. I hope that someday I can provide support to pre-service teachers the way you have supported me.”