Posted: 3/14/19

TAMIU’s fuel for a sustainable teacher pipeline for Texas? Impact, Innovation and Internationalization


Dr. James O'Meara

Some thoughts on "We Teach Texas" from our Dean of the College of Education,
Dr. James O'Meara

Kudos to Governor Gregg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen for making teachers the top priority this Legislative Session. Researchers from the RAND Corporation found when it comes to student performance on reading and math tests, a teacher is estimated to have two to three times the impact of any other school factor, including services, facilities, and even leadership.

That’s why TAMIU is proud to be part of The Texas A&M University System’s inspiring campaign, “We Teach Texas.” Our System, campus and College of Education programs are committed to continuing to be a lead change agent in identifying and training teachers to lead our City, Zone of Impact (ZOI), State, nation and world forward.

The impact of TAMIU teacher preparation is undeniable in South Texas. We prepare 100% of the traditionally trained teachers working in the schools within our 100-mile ZOI. Typically, 80% of our graduates are still working in our ZOI 10 years after graduation. Collectively, their efforts contribute to all schools in the district, exceeding State benchmarks with respect to graduation rates, achievement levels on reading/math, and closing achievement gaps in reading/math performance. To the best of my knowledge, no other teacher preparation program can support a similar claim of impact on student achievement.

Trailblazing innovation is the driver of TAMIU’s nationally recognized teacher preparation program. In 2018, we received a national Trailblazer Award for using data to inform every step of the student experience – from admission to graduation, to teacher certification. Our teacher preparation program stood out from other campus submissions because of our holistic approach to retention and student success. This approach contributed to the College exceeding State benchmarks in certification test pass rates (98%), principal satisfaction rating (81%), employment within one year of graduation (84%) and retention after five years (91%). Simply put, We Teach South Texas. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, we are committed to your success as a student and as a career educator. 

To ready our teacher candidates for leadership roles in preparing local learners to effectively engage with increasingly complex and culturally diverse global societies, we internationalize our curriculum. Our teacher candidates engage in local and international service-learning experiences to develop global educational competencies. They typically graduate with Spanish certifications so they can improve outcomes in Hispanic-serving schools. They benefit from the wisdom of  world thought leaders who participate in international workshops and conferences offered here by the College of Education. At TAMIU, we consistently go beyond traditional preparation to deliver the Texas Education Agency’s top priorities: recruiting, supporting and retaining quality teachers for our schools. 

Nearly 50 years ago, then-Texas A&I University at Laredo opened in August of 1970 to prepare teachers and accountants. Today, as TAMIU, we continue to serve the mission of our founders by encouraging consideration of teaching careers, growing the highest quality teacher and leadership programs, and providing ongoing, robust support to boost in-field retention. 

The need for dedicated teachers here continues to grow. In Laredo, United Independent School District is building eight new schools to accommodate expected enrollments as more families and businesses choose to make Laredo home. Those teachers will likely benefit from the wisdom of State leaders who have targeted proposed pay increases that may bring a beginning teacher’s salary to over $50,000.

Steve Murdock, the first official State Demographer of Texas, reports that nearly 52 percent of public school students in Texas are categorized as Hispanic, and predicts a similar statistic in the State’s population as soon as 2020. TAMIU’s proven fuel for a sustainable teacher pipeline in South Texas: impact, innovation and internationalization, is ready to become a timely and important playbook for teacher education in Texas and beyond.  

Teachers are the difference, and dedicated teachers will always make the difference when it comes to student performance. Principals across our region agree that TAMIU teachers are ready to lead, and dedicated to making a difference from Day One. 

If you want to teach, we want you to experience the TAMIU difference -- and be prepared to be the difference in your classroom.  After all, We Teach Texas.



See a Video on "We Teach Texas" featuring TAMIU Grad Lorena Cestou