There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher. Pat Conroy
Teaching…the most noble of professions. For the past 30 years, I have been one of the very privileged members of this professional community. The decision to pursue a life as a teacher was influenced by my parents, each of whom aspired to teach. However, the less fortunate circumstances of their lives precluded the opportunity of a college education. Instead, my parents instilled in me the priceless value of an education, and their influence would ultimately convince me to spend a lifetime educating others. And, for this I will be eternally grateful. While today I might be Assistant Dean in title, it is with utmost pride that I am, and will forever be, a teacher.
Be the change. It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the Ramapo College of NJ Teacher Education and Certification Program, located on our bucolic campus in Mahwah, NJ. As a teacher, you are in the unique position to positively influence the lives of thousands throughout your career. While teaching is an awesome responsibility, there are few professions that can afford such an opportunity. Be not concerned, however, as our authentically-driven courses, clinical experiences, professional partnerships, and exemplary faculty will nurture, guide and provide learning experiences designed to equip you with the knowledge, competencies and dispositions essential to exemplary teaching. Our TE graduates are agents of the change that we collectively wish to see in the world…one student at a time.
Living our mission. RCNJ Teacher Education/Certification Program students quickly learn that our faculty and staff are tirelessly committed to providing a personalized life-changing collegiate experience – one that will further our mission “to prepare educators who are highly competent in their academic disciplines and highly effective in their instructional and/or administrative skills. Our program, aligned with the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers, prepares candidates at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate levels to be educators who model reflective, innovative teaching behaviors while demonstrating dedication to and enthusiasm for life-long learning. The RCNJ TE/Certification Program at Ramapo College seeks to ensure that candidates are prepared to communicate effectively, establish productive relationships, and respond to the needs of individual learners. The program emphasizes the development of well-rounded and well-prepared educators who understand the profound impact of education in a democratic society, who strive to engage with all learners in a fair, compassionate, and productive manner, and who respect the dignity and diversity of all people (January 2018).
A science and an art. Teaching is a very complex, performance-based profession. The exemplary practitioner effectively blends pedagogical science, artistic creativity, an empathetic manner, and unbounded passionate energy to meet the unique learning needs of every student. Our compassionate faculty are driven by an indefatigable desire to ensure that each and every one of our pre-service graduates enters the profession with the potential to be that exemplary practitioner. Additionally, our experiential, interactive and interdisciplinary curricula, as well as small class sizes, allow faculty to utilize innovative, high-impact and differentiated instructional practices that foster individual growth, promote academic excellence, and, ultimately, produce exemplary teachers.
It takes a village. Achieving the programmatic mission, goals and outcomes I previously described would be impossible without our many outstanding partner districts/schools and their dedicated professionals who choose to give of themselves for the betterment of our students. In collaboration we provide a sustained cohesive clinical model that progressively engages our students in authentic learning and preparatory experiences that foster the pedagogical competencies, dispositions and overall qualities that define the highly effective teacher. These professional partnerships also serve as a recruitment vehicle, one that is looked to for high-quality prospects. It certainly takes a village to achieve our mission. On behalf of our TE/Certification Program faculty and staff, a heartfelt “thank you” to each and every one of our partner organizations and professionals!
Lifelong learners. We believe that contemporary educators must be lifelong learners, ever searching for answers to the “how” and “why” of research-based best practices, and always striving for pedagogical excellence. To this end, our Teacher Education and Certification Program offers a wide range of state-of-the-art undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs designed to meet the unique learning, professional and personal needs of prospective and practicing educators. From our Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and certificate-based teacher education concentrations, to our post-baccalaureate and graduate programs, our exceptional faculty take great pride in their determined efforts and abilities to adeptly create a transformational experience, one that advances knowledge, expertise and careers in education. When appropriate, our courses are delivered in blended or online learning formats, effectively harnessing the power of instructional technologies to enhance learning, yet minimize unnecessary logistical challenges.
On behalf of my RCNJ colleagues, I enthusiastically encourage you to explore the contents of our Teacher Education and Certification Program website to 1) learn more about the many exciting academic and preparatory programs available to our students, 2) meet our uniquely experienced, dedicated and talented faculty and staff, and 3) make a more informed and, potentially, life-changing decision. Always know that I welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Therefore, please do feel comfortable to reach out to me anytime to address your questions, seek advice or, simply, engage in thought-provoking discourse.
And, finally, if I have not yet convinced you to further explore our website, I offer you the inspirational words of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Clark Mollenhoff (1957), who wrote this poem to honor his mother’s retirement from the teaching profession.
Teachers, the Molders of Dreams
You are the molders of their dreams –
The gods who build or crush their young beliefs of right and wrong.
You are the spark that sets aflame the poet’s hand,
Or lights the flame of some great singer’s song.
You are the god of the young, the very young.
You are the guardian of a million dreams.
Your every smile or frown can heal or pierce a heart.
Yours are a hundred lives, a thousand lives.
Yours the pride of loving them – and the sorrow too.
Your patient work – your touch – make you the gods of hope,
Who fill their souls with dreams,
To make those dreams come true.
All of my very best,
Dr. Brian P. Chinni
Assistant Dean, Teacher Education and Certification
Director, MA in Educational Leadership