South Carolina schools are looking for arts teachers! Most of the arts areas, including dance, music, theatre and visual arts are listed as critical needs areas in the State.
So, what does that mean for those of us who went through our undergraduate years without taking even one course in teacher education? Perhaps we thought as undergraduates that a teaching career would never interest us, or we became so involved in our arts majors that we didn’t have any time to take teacher preparation courses.
Now, we may have a different mindset. After a successful career as an artist, perhaps, we want to give back to the field that helped us so much to be the successful creative entrepreneurs that we are, or perhaps, we have had a change of heart and really want to contribute to the artistic wellbeing and growth of young people, or perhaps we want to ensure that there is a future audience for the arts, or perhaps we understand that the arts are necessary for a happy and well-balanced life.
So what should we do now? Is it too late? Has a life as a classroom teacher passed us by? By all means, no.
There are at least two routes to obtain teacher certification after receiving a bachelor’s degree in an arts discipline without taking the requisite education courses as an undergraduate.
One route is through a process called PACE (Program of Alternative Certification for Educators). This is a three year program for degreed individuals who otherwise do not meet certification requirements. Details on this program can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other route is to obtain the Master of Arts in Teaching, offered by several of our South Carolina institutions of higher education. Since I’m at the College of Charleston, I’ll use our MAT programs as examples. We offer the MAT in Performing Arts with two concentration areas, Choral Music and Theatre. Successfully finishing the MAT with the concentration in choral music will qualify you to be recommended to the SC Department of Education for South Carolina certification in general and choral music at grades P-12. Following the concentration in theatre will qualify you to be recommended to the SC Department of Education for certification in theatre at grades P-12. The MAT in Performing Arts requires 45 hours of coursework and takes at least two years. Twenty-four hours will cover core requirements (such as basic education courses) with twenty-one hours in the specific arts concentration. You’ll spend one year on fieldwork and one semester on clinical practice (I think this used to be called student teaching!) Once you receive the MAT and pass the PRAXIS exam, you are recommended to the SC Department of Education for certification to teach. And there are lots of jobs available in critical needs areas in the arts.
South Carolina desperately needs teachers who specialize in the arts! If you feel the calling, why not give it a try? Through PACE or the MAT route, you can positively change your life and the lives of South Carolina young people.