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Penn undergraduates pursuing degrees in the liberal arts need not despair about their postgraduate careers. There is at least one profession that can never use enough of them: Teaching. Yesterday afternoon, the Kelly Writers House hosted an information session designed to teach humanities-oriented students -- all undergraduates -- how best to go about receiving a master's degree in Education and a teaching certificate. Ellen Braffman, the coordinator of secondary education at Penn's Graduate School of Education, was the featured speaker at the event. In her talk, she stressed the growing need for teachers -- especially in inner city high schools. "It is estimated that 2 million teachers will be needed in the next decade," Braffman said. "Science, math and foreign language teachers are especially needed." The Teacher Education Program allows Penn undergraduates to submatriculate into the Graduate School of Education. The program begins the summer after graduation and lasts until the following spring. Students take a one-month Introduction to Teaching course and then teach in a West Philadelphia high school for two semesters, simultaneously taking graduate school courses. Once the students decide the subject area in which they want to teach, they are required to take a certain number of classes in that subject. The student-teaching aspect of the program works exclusively with West Philadelphia high school students, trying to increase literacy rates of these students and help them to develop essential writing skills. The student teachers involved in the program must create teaching methods to achieve this goal. Braffman stressed that many students who participate in this program, in fact, ultimately do not pursue a teaching career. Some students who receive their masters in Education and their teaching certificates then go on to pursue other careers. Still, Braffman said the Teacher Education Program can prepare students for success in a wide range of career fields. "The teaching program is based on a theory into practice relationship," Braffman said. "You don't really learn anything until you have to teach it." College senior Richard Adzei, one of the students who attended the talk, is currently in the teaching program. "This is a great opportunity to maximize your time here at Penn," Adzei said after the talk. "It also saves money," he added, referring to the fact that alumni who teach in inner city schools have their student loans waived. College sophomore Allie D'Augustine, who attended the event, also praised the teaching program. "It is a good thing to help in inner- city schools" D'Augustine said. Students apply to participate in the program at the end of their junior year. Applications are read on a rolling basis and the students are notified of a decision by the end of the fall semester of their senior year. Applicants must complete an application, an essay and submit recommendations as well.

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