Tag Archives: Berkeley

math and science and bears, oh my!

I’ve been rethinking the purpose and direction of this blog (hence the long hiatus and a folder full of half-written posts in my drafts).  However, this is a pretty sweet piece of news, “Cal Teach Graduates First Credentialed Teacher”!

Last year California approved Cal’s math and science credentialing program, Cal Teach.  This year, they graduated its first credentialed student (who earned her credential while also working on her Astrophysics degree).

Do you know what this means, potential math and science teachers?  This means that you can graduate with a B.A and a credential!  This means you won’t need to enroll in an additional credentialing program, which saves you a year!

Not to mention, the last I checked, despite budget cuts and all, Cal is a wonderful place to work out your ideologies and challenge your presuppositions to really see what you can do and figure out why you do it.

“Science, mathematics, engineering — these are the elite core professions. And a large segment of our population has been shut out of them from the day they walk into kindergarten class,” said Mark Richards, dean of the College of Letters and Science and one of Cal Teach’s key supporters. “This is more than a matter of competitiveness for our country. It’s a matter of social justice.”

It is also a matter of economics and survival in an increasingly-technological world. The United States currently ranks 48th in the world in the quality of mathematics and science education, according to a report of the World Economic Forum. Another study by the National Assessment of Education Progress reported that less than half of U.S. students are proficient in science, with California ranking shockingly near the bottom of the 50 states.

Unlike traditional models, in which teaching content is divorced from teaching pedagogical skills, Cal Teach relies on an integrated, holistic approach. The program offers students simultaneous access to developing content knowledge and a teaching credential while also giving them valuable field experience by placing them in local urban school classrooms.

Economics, technology, integration, holistic approach, social justice – all in one excerpt?  Bingo.  I’m glad that despite difficulties with the deficit and figuring out how to truly teach, Cal is constantly reevaluating and finding ways to pinch pennies and still offer relevant paths for the future.  Proud to be a bear.

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A bite of humble pie

This just goes to show that I really have no idea how the application process works.  I’m just glad I got in somewhere, and sad I didn’t get in here.  I think it’s more a blow to my ego, though.  Maybe my heart too – after all, my alma mater did just reject me.  Still, go bears!

The Berkeley DTE Interview (2 of 3)

So this is part 2 out of my limited series on my Ed interviews (to see part 1 go here)

To start off, I want to stress something that DTE’s interviewing board also stressed, the school interviews are meant not only for the school to get to know you (in ways that weren’t covered through the paper application), but it is a way for you to get to know the school. I totally agree.

In my previous post, I mentioned how I began to feel pretty ambivalent about school in general and had begun to think that perhaps I wasn’t excited about school necessarily, only the future that lay ahead once I earned my credentials and M.A.  To give away the ending of my post, I realized that nope!  I’m super enthused about school – I guess the UCLA interview process just didn’t do it for me.  So without further ado…

The Berkeley Developmental Teacher Education Program Interview!

My (lack of) Preparation

This time around, I dressed up a bit more (black pants instead of jeans, black heeled slippers, and I don’t remember my top but I wore a fitted jacket), but unfortunately, unlike the UCLA one, I was overdressed in terms of formality but underdressed in terms of weather.   Oh well.

The Set-Up

This was a more typical interview format where we were introduced to the people who would be conducting the interviews, given a bit of a background on DTE, and informed of certain changes (and the reasons behind the changes) that will be started this year!  (Basically, DTE changed from a 2-year to a 15-month program.)

Then we (8 women including me) were each given a schedule of our individual 20-minute interviews with the exiting director (and co-founder), the exiting coordinator, the incoming coordinator, and a principal of one of the schools we’d work with.  Also, we were given a written assignment (of which we were informed beforehand) where we read a prompt and had to write a letter to a principal requesting supplies for an upcoming unit.  Basically we had an interview in every other 20-minute time slot, and in between, were supposed to work on our letter.  We were also given an additional thirty minutes to complete the letter after our final interview session.

My Impressions

Overall, the interviews themselves were great.  My first few felt a little rocky, but the last two went swimmingly.  I honestly felt regretful that the exiting coordinator and director are retiring.*  We just had great conversations and they seemed like people with opinions and convictions.  (If only I had applied 2 years earlier…).   Furthermore, I felt like I was taken seriously.  While one interviewer referenced quotes from my personal statement, another chatted with me in detail about my reference letters and resume experiences.  In short, I felt like they were making fair judgment calls on me as a person, which I truly appreciated.

My feelings after the interviews were mixed.  Honestly, I felt a lot of regret.  I felt regretful that as the first application, I rushed through it and didn’t edit my thoughts.  I felt regretful that I didn’t prepare for my interviews (unlike some other people who looked up the interviewers and reviewed their application).  I felt regretful that I chatted too much during the break times that I turned in my letter-writing assignment in late (so typical of me though).  Lastly, I felt regretful that I didn’t purpose to give this application experience my all since I initially didn’t really want to return to Berkeley.

Well, we exhale and move on.

A cool info tidbit: Unlike other programs, one cool thing about DTE is that it gives you 4 separate classroom experiences, which is crucial!

Conclusion

To close, I really enjoyed the interview and realized that I do want to be in school, and that I want to be in this area (not So Cal).  In hindsight, there were so many things I could have done better, but what can I do now?  I found out that this year only 74 people applied and they will be accepting 15.  I’ll be finding out sometime in mid-March.  Regardless of the outcome, I really, really enjoyed the people I met (and the group of people I interviewed with), and I’m once again looking forward to being a student again!

*Honestly, I reallyreallyreally wish they weren’t retiring.  I had to include this footnote, just in case you missed the fact that I really want them to stay. Really.

Aww man…

So for the Berkeley DTE program application requirements, doesn’t it look like you have to take the CBEST and the Writing CSET?

Basic Skills Requirement (Required of all applicants to programs leading to a credential; 3 options for passing)

I mean I did think it was strange (since most schools require either the Writing Skills CSET or the CBEST), but I signed up anyway and arranged to get a substitute for that test day.  Well, it turns out that you don’t have to take the Writing Exam if you passed the CBEST.  Furthermore, the last day to cancel the CSET tests was at the late registration deadline.  Even though the CBEST allows you to cancel 24 hours in advance for a free refund, the CSET doesn’t do that.  So, now I’m out $35 (which may now sound like a lot but… it is!).

What you can get for $35

At first, I felt frustrated since was it my fault?  But then I suppose I should have inquired with the Berkeley GSE earlier…

Lesson for Future Applicants: If you want to be careful about your finances (or just your application in general), contact the Admissions Office with questions – even if it seems obvious.  The sooner the better!

Honestly though, this is the only thing that comforts me.  When your grass looks pretty dingy, just go look at the other, less green side!  🙂  Happy Applying!