by Rebecca Zisch
Since March, a small but dynamic group of students have been participating in a brand-new, innovative program in the NSC School of Education. They may not look like traditional students, but they have a consummate energy and enthusiasm for their own education and the process of becoming teachers.
Multilingual Individuals Training to Become Teachers (MITT) is a collaboration between the Clark County School District (CCSD) and Nevada State College. The program aims to help curb the persistent teacher shortage in Clark County while also reacting to the growing demand for multilingual teachers motivated and skilled to effectively work with K-12 English Language Learners.
Because the MITT program targets professionals with four-year degrees from accredited international universities, and for whom English is a second language, the current students blend of countries and backgrounds make for stimulating interaction in the classroom. MITT’s pioneer cohort includes students whose experiences and joy of learning will make the kind of inspirational teachers that ultimately succeed in the classroom.
Dr. Lori Navarrete, Associate Dean of the School of Education, spearheaded the MITT program and speaks with enthusiasm about its students. These are brilliant, wonderful people with diverse and interesting lives. They came to America for different reasons, some for marriage or as refugees, but they are all excited to be teachers.
They range in age from 30 60 years old and have all immigrated to the United States and are now either citizens or legal permanent residents. There is a Physics professor from Mexico and husband and wife engineers from Romania, and each person’s education and professional experience was a unique path to NSC. They may have not predicted this is where they would be some day, but now they participate in intensive English immersion training coupled with teacher education coursework, all of which sets them on the path toward a Nevada teaching license.
Other students are from Cuba, Egypt, the Philippines, El Salvador, Russia, Vietnam, Iran and Argentina and have been lawyers, accountants and so much more before immigrating to the US. Most have been in the US for 5 10 years but have had to work different jobs than they did previously because of language barriers. Some were teachers before immigrating and have been substitute teachers for CCSD. And one student works in the maintenance department for the school district but will soon be teaching in a classroom.
Bency Manglicmot, M.Ed., is a professor who has had rewarding classroom experiences with the MITT program students. It is great to see so many students with a deliberate desire, later in life, to learn something new.
Manglicmot was previously a math teacher and now works as an English Language Learner (ELL) Specialist for CCSD. This past summer, she piloted a writing course at NSC specifically geared toward the MITT students language needs. They improved their own writing while learning how to teach writing to others. She recalled that even though students were working, caring for families and going to school at night, they didn’t want to leave. They were so energized. They were so excited to learn.
Born in the Philippines and an immigrant herself, Manglicmot is a uniquely qualified instructor for the MITT program. She understands the obstacles a non-native English speaker might face in becoming a teacher. Specifically, there is a common fear of public speaking, which is a cornerstone to a successful career in education. This was a wonderful learning experience for me and them. Many of the students are worried about their accents, but my life experiences were encouraging to them I reminded them that an accent is just a part of who you are. They should never be worried about their accents.
Five students who began with MITT last March have already passed their English language proficiency test and begun the Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL) that includes professional development training, licensure coursework and practicing teaching skills with a mentor teacher. The remaining 17 MITT students in the original cohort have until December to complete their language proficiency and prepare themselves to also begin the ARL. Manglicmot says that many of them are considering going into Elementary Special Education.
Associate Dean Navarrete is positive about the first MITT students completing their licensure requirements and the future of the program overall. We’re already seeing great progress with the MITT program so far, which is very encouraging as the education of these students will have a positive impact on our entire community.
For more information on Nevada State College, call: 702.992.2000 or visit: nsc.edu.