Learning to Teach: PBTL Program Celebrates 35 years

The Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program (PBTL) began in the fall of 1985 with a vision to serve both aspiring teachers and their future students. 

Through Mary Baldwin’s PBTL program, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can earn teacher licensure in Virginia quickly and affordably. The average time of program completion ranges from a year to year and a half. This makes it a popular choice among career switchers and education support professionals with sights set on impacting the lives of students in their own classrooms.

Photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We see this program as supremely beneficial, not only to our PBTL students, but to the schools and school systems that are desperately seeking well prepared, fully licensed teachers in this era of nationwide teacher shortage,” said Angela Wilson, assistant professor and director of teacher education. “Courses offered through Mary Baldwin’s College of Education are taught by experienced professional faculty, who bring theory and practice together to produce relevant and meaningful learning experiences for individuals preparing to become teachers.”

This academic year, MBU marks 35 years of the PBTL program and its impact on education in the local region and across Virginia. Through this program, many highly qualified classroom teachers positively impact student learning and the field of education.

Top row, l-r: Assistant Professor and Director of Teacher Education at MBU Angela Wilson; U.S. History Teacher Nick Corbin; Western Civilization and Theology Teacher David Euans. Bottom row, l-r: Special Education Teacher Kara Irving; Biology and Chemistry Teacher Katherine Larson; Science Teacher Kirsten Pickford

To help celebrate the 35th anniversary, five dedicated alumni teachers share how their PBTL experience paved the way for the contributions they now make in helping to shape the lives of others through education.

Nick Corbin
United States History, Buffalo Gap High School in Swoope

“I love what I do! After graduating from Bridgewater College with a degree in history, I found myself working at Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center. I felt unaccomplished and also felt like I could make more of an impact in kids’ lives rather than just supervising them after they had gotten into serious trouble. 

Entering and following through with the PBTL program offered by MBU was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Everyone involved in the PBTL program at MBU goes above and beyond to make this program a complete success. Advisors and faculty are friendly, communicative, and at the end of the day want you to be successful, so they do everything in their power to help you out as a student.” 

David Euans
Eighth Grade Western Civilization and Theology, The Covenant School in Charlottesville

“As a youngster, my memories of my school were less than fond. Yet somewhere along the way, I became convinced that the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom was a worthwhile endeavor. There really isn’t a trick to teaching, just harness your passion and let it rub off on your students, pique their interests, let creativity flourish, don’t settle for mediocrity, and try and have some fun along the way.  

I think one of the most important aspects in education stems from student/teacher ratio. I was impressed by the care and attention I received while in MBU’s PBTL program. Additionally, the professors were up to date on the current teaching philosophies, which helped prepare me for the ever-changing realm of education.” 

Kara Irving
Special Education, Wilson Memorial High School in Fishersville

“Working with students, and hopefully helping to inspire them to believe in themselves, gives me a sense of purpose. I went into teaching, and specifically special education, to be a positive impact on the young people in our community. I love developing strategies and supports to help students overcome obstacles, and I love being their advocate as they work towards their goals.  

Mary Baldwin’s PBTL program and excellent faculty gave me the confidence and experience to start a second career in a completely different field. The classes I took were practical and useful, and I often reference the lessons and materials from my classes. The lessons I learned at MBU helped frame my thinking about how to best serve students. Now when I am asked ‘what do you do?,’ I confidently say, ‘I am a teacher!’”

Katherine Larson
Biology and Chemistry, Salem High School

“Seeing students begin to master challenging topics is incredibly rewarding to me as a teacher. I have also enjoyed building strong relationships with students. My heart grows every time a student reaches out to me to share a success or to ask for help with a personal or academic problem.

Mary Baldwin’s PBTL program enabled me to quickly go from being an after-school tutor to being a full-time teacher. Not only was I able to achieve my dream of becoming a high school teacher, but I was able to build professional connections with my advisor and professors. In fact, I enjoyed working with my advisor so much that I’m back at MBU as a graduate student in the Master of Education in Special Education Program.”

Kirsten Pickford
Sixth Grade Science, Shelburne Middle School in Staunton

“If you ask my students why they are doing math in science class, they will tell you, with smiles on their faces, “Ms. Pickford says that math is the language of science”. My goal isn’t just to teach my students the curriculum and share my passion for science, but also to provide them with those interdisciplinary connections and strategies that can help them learn and grow as individuals.

During my time in the PBTL program my love for learning was reignited, so much so that I’ve since completed my MEd in Authentic Learning and Leadership at MBU, and have taken a wide variety of classes that have inspired future programs at my school.”

For more information on the PBTL program at MBU, please visit the program’s page.