“With teaching, no two days are exactly the same. I like the challenge that it brings me and the fresh start of each new school year,” said Brooke Park (Elementary Education ’12). She has taught at Pensacola Christian Academy for seven years and has been the first grade principal for the past two. “I continued in education because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and help train the next generation of teachers, pastors, electricians, etc., while giving them a Biblical educational foundation,” she said. “I love being able to introduce children to Christ and give them a quality, Christian education, helping my teachers to become better, and interacting with the families in our community.”
PCC’s reputation for producing excellent, prepared teachers with a heart for service places education graduates in high demand at Christian schools. Their training enables them to enter the classroom on the first day confident and capable, prepared and professional.
“The education department is superior—you will graduate with everything you need to step into a classroom and begin teaching,” Park said. “It is a wonderful thing to go to a college where you are surrounded by like-minded peers who are pursuing the same big goals as you are.”
Mirna Guillen (Early Childhood ’19), a teacher at Rochester Hills Christian School, said she is encouraged to keep teaching when “a parent tells me their little one can’t stop talking about how school is so much fun; or when one of my students gives me a hug and tells me they love me.” What appeals the most to her is the opportunity to influence the lives of future leaders.
Beginning their freshman year, elementary education students begin laying a solid foundation on a biblical teaching philosophy. They observe classes and learn methods from veteran teachers. Through their sophomore and junior years, students practice teaching their peers and applying techniques that develop their confidence. And rather than experimenting with unproven teaching techniques, students learn what genuinely works and apply tried-and-true traditional methods to succeed in the classroom.
“I was well-prepared to control a classroom and deal with student behaviors,” said Amy Erickson (Elementary Education ’14), a middle school English/PE teacher at Raleigh Christian Academy. “I am glad to have the foundation in elementary education to give me confidence while standing before a class and the ability to focus on mastering my content instead of on classroom management,” she said. “I learned many tips and tricks during my internship. My advisory teacher was very helpful in preparing me to enter the classroom. PCC places a high priority on excellence, and will definitely prepare you to excel. I knew that my very best was expected of me every day.”
Pensacola Christian Academy, home of the well-known Abeka curriculum, becomes the education students’ laboratory as they complete their teaching internship. They receive thorough training, develop classroom management, and practice teaching skills under the supervision of a master teacher. Their advisory teacher becomes a type of mentor to them and often keeps in contact with them even after graduation. The experience seniors receive prepares them to be effective teachers during their first year and beyond.
By their senior year, “their education training climaxes into a 15-week internship at Pensacola Christian Academy,” explained Dr. Chris Bowman (Elementary Education ’82), Ed. D., of the education faculty. “These students join PCA faculty a week before students come back for the school year as opposed to joining when school is already in session. This is an advantage to receiving education training at PCC.”
After 17 years of teaching at Franklin Road Christian Academy, Trina Lyles (Elementary Education ’14) now owns and operates an in-home daycare. She shared what appeals to her about teaching and what encourages her to continue: “I love being able to instill in these children at a young age that God loves them and made them for a reason. Our world needs Christian childcare workers to love these kids and teach them about God,” she said.
“Based on the training they have received and their performance in the classroom, it’s as if they are not first-year teachers,” said Dr. Bowman. “School administrators recognize that PCC students’ training puts them ahead of graduates from other colleges and universities.”