Welcome to the Teacher Education Department
Toccoa Falls College offers students the opportunity to prepare to become an educator in public and private schools. The Teacher Education Department offers six majors including Early Childhood for grades preschool to grade 5, Middle Grades for grades 4-8, Music Education for grades K-12, English Education, History Education and Broad Field Science Education for grades 6-12. In addition to those majors we offer the English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) Endorsement which can be added to any of the education majors, and the Reading Endorsement which is embedded within the Early Childhood major.
The Teacher Education Department faculty share a combined total of 60 years’ experience as K-12 educators with candidates pursuing educational careers. Graduates of the Toccoa Falls College Teacher Education Department serve in classrooms around the world in International Schools, Christian and private schools, as well Charter, Elementary, Middle and High Schools in the State of Georgia and around the country. Many have gone on to be recognized as Teachers of the Year and moved into positions of leadership within their school as administrators and teacher leaders. All other professions have their foundational beginnings in educational settings before moving into their careers, so come and shape the lives of future leaders through a career in education.
Donna Gardner Ed.D., Chair, Teacher Education Department
What We Believe
Becoming a classroom teacher has never been more important to our society. Qualified teachers for the future are in high demand. Christian teachers passionate about their faith need to permeate school campuses demonstrating knowledge, strong teaching skills, and biblical character that will engage their culture.
The Teacher Education Department exists to prepare Christian students to be classroom teachers that emulate biblical thinking, competence in a chosen content field, and excellent teaching skills. This preparation process dynamically integrates faith and learning through curricular, field-based experiences, and character development.
Because seeing children succeed educationally is the focus of the 21st-century classroom, we believe teachers are the most important ingredient in that context because they serve as a catalyst within the learning environment. Teachers’ attitudes saturate ALL that goes on in the education setting. Therefore, the molding of teachers as a whole person is paramount in our Teacher Education Program. We have high expectations of growth and maturity – spiritually, socially, emotionally, and academically.
Through Interaction International and the Christian College Teacher Education Coordinating Committee (CCTECC), the Teacher Education Department offers excellent opportunities for seniors to student teach in international schools in one of more than 200 countries around the world. Student teachers have taught in Africa, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Germany, India, Israel, Paraguay, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Many graduates are teaching in these locations around the world.
- Early Childhood Education
- Middle Grades Education (4-8)
- Secondary Education: English (6-12)
- Secondary Education: History (6-12)
- Secondary Education: Science – Biology (6-12)
- Secondary Education: Science – Chemistry (6-12)
- Music Education: Choral & Instrumental
- Teacher Education
Any Teacher Education majors who receive certification in Georgia, and complete the courses below, will have the ESOL endorsement added to their certificate. The ESOL Endorsement consists of the following courses:
- ANT 203 Cultural Anthropology
- ESL 213 Introduction to TESOL
- EDE 323 Classroom ESL Methodology & Practicum
Early Childhood Education majors who receive certification in Georgia, and complete the courses below, will have the Reading endorsement added to their certificate. The Reading Endorsement is comprised of the following courses:
- EDC 253 Introduction to Reading Methods
- EDC 353 Reading and Writing in the Content Area: Early Childhood
- EDC 453 Reading Diagnosis and Remediation
Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”
Luke 2:4 “And those who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers.”
- Content Knowledge: The candidate understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of discipline(s) s/he teaches.
- Learner and Learning: The candidate understands how learners grow and develop, recognizes patterns of learning, and identifies differences.
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord not for men.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
- Learning Differences: The candidate uses the understanding of all learners to design and implement differential learning experiences and create inclusive environments that enable learners to meet high standards.
- Planning Instructional Strategies: The candidate plans instruction using a variety of instructional strategies and resources including technology to support rigorous learning goals, to develop deep understanding of content areas, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
- Application of Content: The candidate understands how to connect concepts to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic issues.
- Assessment: The candidate uses multiple methods of assessment to monitor learner progress, to engage learners in their growth, and to guide decision making.
- Learning Environments: The candidate works to create safe, orderly, and well-managed environments that support collaborative learning, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen – practice these things, and the God of peace be with you.”
- Leadership and Collaboration: the candidate seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with others to ensure learner growth, and to advance in profession.
- Professional Learning: The candidate engages in ongoing professional learning and reflects upon his/her practice.
- Ethical Practice: The candidate demonstrates a clear commitment to the profession and ethical standard as outlined by the GaPSC in the Code of Ethics for Educators while understanding the effects of his/her choices and actions on others.
Professional Partnerships (Local Partnerships)
The Teacher Education Department has a dynamic working relationship with the local public school system and with other school systems within the area. Our students are in demand locally as substitute teachers, tutoring, mentoring, and participation in after-school programs and in-school programs like America Reads.
Professional Accreditation (Our State of Georgia Partnership)
The Teacher Education Department at Toccoa Falls College is approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Therefore upon graduation, with the successful completion of requirements and course and the passing of the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) test, the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), and Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators – Program Exit (360) assessment, our graduates are granted certification in the state of Georgia. Each state determines its own certification requirements and most recognize the Georgia teacher certification. Many, however do require certain additional requirements for certifying teachers from other states, often including (but not limited to) passing state-specific certification assessments.
The purpose of the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is to provide, through professional organization and cooperation, for the continuous promotion of ideas and practices which are most useful in the education of professional school personnel in the state of Georgia. Members include colleges/universities in public and private sectors of the State of Georgia who are engaged in the preparation of teacher educators. www.gacte.org
The purpose of the Georgia Association of Independent Colleges for Teacher Education is to provide a communication and information system for sharing of concerns, issues, and viewpoints in teacher education as they pertain to Georgia. Also, GAICTE exists to be an active voice in state level matters and to cooperate with organizations within the State of Georgia and nationally to deliver quality teacher education. Members include colleges and universities which have state approved teacher education programs and are private in ownership. www.gaicte.org
Interaction International is an organization whose purpose is to be a catalyst and a resource working cooperatively in the development of programs, services and publications to provide and contribute to an on-going flow of care that meets the needs of Third Culture Kids* (TCKs) and internationally mobile families. As one service, Interaction has uniquely created CCTECC (Christian College Teacher Education Coordinating Committee) to assist with the placement of teacher education students for overseas student teaching. www.interactionintl.org
Important Links for Teachers:
- The Professional Standards Commission: www.gapsc.com
- Georgia Department of Education: www.doe.k12.ga.us
- Georgia Performance Standards: www.georgiastandards.org
- Georgia Teaching Opportunities: www.teachgeorgia.org
- National Job Openings for Teachers: www.teachers-teachers.com
- Association of Christian Schools International: www.acsi.org
Websites for standards:
- National Middle School Association (NMSA): nmsa.org
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): nctm.org
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): ncte.org
- National Council on Social Studies (NCSS): ncss.org
- National Science Teachers Association (NSTA): nsta.org
- National Association of Schools of Music (NASM): arts-accredit.org/nasm/nasm.htm
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): naeyc.org/
- Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
- Donna R. Gardner, Department Chair, Certification Official
- Kristina Lightfoot, Assessment Coordinator & Program Coordinator: Middle and Secondary Education
- Angie Rainwater, Program Coordinator: Early Childhood Education
- Yurii Henriques, Program Coordinator: Music Education
- Carrie Ryan, Field Placement Director and edTPA Coordinator
- Christopher Shoaf, Assessment Coordinator & Administrative Assistant