TechTeach Helps Student Pursue Teaching Certificate

Donna West, a mother of two, is a teacher candidate in the Texas Hill Country program.

Donna West

As a student, wife and mother of two, Donna West needed an outlet to pursue her passion for teaching that fit into her busy lifestyle.

Texas Tech University’s TechTeach was the right fit for this 40 year-old, non-traditional student.

“I’ve always dreamed of becoming a teacher and this program has helped me pursue my degree in education to fulfill my passion for teaching,” West said.

TechTeach is a teacher education program in the College of Education. It is a clinically intensive, competency-based program that provides teacher candidates a strong foundation in the classroom.

A new roll-out of the program, beginning July 2014, allows students with an associate’s degree in teaching to become certified in one year. The program currently has designated programs in Lubbock, the Texas Hill Country and Dallas-Fort Worth.

West, a teacher candidate in the Texas Hill Country program, is completing her senior year in the program. She works as a professional educational aid at Packsaddle Elementary School in Kingsland.

“I decided to join TechTeach after I heard from my two friends who previously completed the program how accessible the program,” she said. “Once I knew the program was right for me, I contacted the academic advisor who helped guide my way through the program with a plan that would help me not only succeed, but also work for me.”

West the mother of two children, 10-year-old daughter Emily and high school senior Easton, and is married to Joey. She needed a flexible program to fit her demanding schedule, and TechTeach made it easy for her to balance her personal life while working toward a degree.


West with her TechTeach cohort.

“I love the flexibility of the program because as a working professional, I can’t go to school like a normal student,” West said, “and the program provides online and offline classes, which make it possible for anyone to do.”

As a student, a normal day for West consists of sitting in lectures to collaborate with peers, participating in interactive discussions through online classes or getting first-hand experience in a classroom using the learned practices.

“I take classes that are hybrid in nature, which non-traditional students love,” West said, “because I can still find time to learn and expand my education through the way the classes are set up and still hold a job and take care of my family.”

As a professional, West’s day consists of facilitating classes, teaching students the proper technology to improve their math, language and art skills, and implementing her lesson plans she learned from TechTeach.

“The program allows me to do what I love,” West said. “I learn the best teaching practices, and then get to use my knowledge in the classroom while still having a source of income.”

West recently was recognized as an exceptional teacher candidate through the Quest for Quality Teacher Preparation in Texas for her dedication, hard work and 4.0 GPA. She has received an official Resolution from the Texas House of Representatives from the exceptional teacher candidate initiative, which is designed to identify outstanding teacher candidates from universities across Texas.

“I am honored to receive this recognition and it was all due to TechTeach,” West said. “I am very excited to graduate this August and I hope to continue working at Packsaddle Elementary.”

College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.



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