Majors and Minors Home
About the Major
South’s elementary education program provides extensive field experiences in local classrooms with diverse student populations and outstanding mentor teachers. That training, along with courses in teaching methods, prepares candidates for the profession immediately upon graduation.
Jobs in Elementary Education
- Elementary education teacher
- Special education teacher
- Early childhood education teacher
- Early childhood special education teacher
Teacher Continues Her Own Education
For Courteney Thompson, a kindergarten teacher in Tillman’s Corner, Alabama, the education department at South became a career planner, a reference center and a professional home away from home.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in K-6 elementary education, she took a full-time job at W.C. Griggs Elementary School. At the same time, she was earning a master’s degree in K-6 education, along with certification as a reading specialist.
“You gain a deeper understanding of the science of learning,” said Thompson. “You can see that this child learns this way, and that one learns that way, which helps make your teaching more effective.”
Next, she planned to work on a doctorate in education. One day she’d like to become a college professor.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I’d love to stay at South.”
Thompson grew up in Birmingham, where her mother thought she might become a teacher. Some of her teachers did, too.
“I know education is the direct path to changing someone’s future. I’ve seen it happen.”
“In the fifth grade, my teacher, Mr. McDonald, would have me work with other students,” she said. “I know education is the direct path to changing someone’s future. I’ve seen it happen.”
At South, Thompson was president of the Kappa Delta Pi education honor society. She worked as a tutor and as a resident assistant in student housing. She was active in Baptist Campus Ministries and Reformed University Fellowship.
She remains a booster and fan of the University of South Alabama.
“I love sports — football games, basketball games,” she said. “I love my Jags.”
At Griggs Elementary, Thompson works to give kindergarteners a head start in learning how to read. She tries to be energetic and keep things lively.
“We do so many active, hands-on things in the classroom,” she said. “We’ve got music pumping, at times, and we’re reading and shouting those letter sounds. We have a great time.”
Did You Know?
- Elementary education majors spend many hours of their three final semesters in local elementary schools providing candidates with meaningful experiences and the preparation they need to transition into teaching.
- The K-6 elementary education program is a dual certification program designed to prepare teachers for kindergarten through grade 6 classrooms. Satisfactory completion of the program requirements and accompanying tests lead to a recommendation for a Class B certificate in both elementary education and collaborative teaching (special education).
- Elementary education majors also may qualify for a Class B certificate in early childhood education or early childhood special education through an additional nine hours of coursework, including field and internship experience, as well as additional testing requirements.