Student teacher celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week at Tarleton

Carlie Benat

STEPHENVILLE — Carlie Benat didn’t even plan on attending Tarleton State University.

Now, with December graduation looming, she faces a future away from the campus.

“I wasn’t actually looking at Tarleton,” said the Forney senior interdisciplinary studies major, “but one of my friends was going to tour the campus and asked me to come with her. I fell in love the second I set foot on campus. I knew it was home. I’m already missing it.”

Carlie and her classmates in the College of Education are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week through May 8.

Tarleton State University is part of a Texas A&M University System statewide campaign that encourages teaching as a career. The A&M System’s 11 universities produce more fully certified teachers than any other university system in Texas.

The “We Teach Texas” campaign affirms the role of teachers and notes that “every success story starts in a classroom.”

Carlie is a student teacher of a second-grade class in Dublin. Like every other Tarleton student, the dynamics of her schooling changed dramatically this semester with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, she has found positives to boost her as she pushes toward her career and educational goals.

“Tarleton has offered an abundance of access to technological resources to accommodate for online learning,” she said, “which has made it that much easier for me to adjust to teaching students online.”

She is scheduled for clinical teaching in the fall, which will entail eight weeks of teaching second grade, then eight weeks of pre-k followed by completing the Tarleton Teacher Work Sample requiring intentional research, planning and implementing an entire interdisciplinary unit.

She says she’s ready for the challenge.

“The Curriculum and Instruction Department has given me the opportunity to gain over 100 hours of classroom experience before even beginning clinical teaching. Through my applied learning experience, I have been able to learn more about myself as a student, teacher and person.”

Although she had not planned on attending Tarleton, Carlie knew in high school that she wanted a career in education. She went through Forney High School’s education training program, eventually becoming president of the organization.

As a university freshman, she was a psychology major with an eye toward counseling. “But after being here a year, really reflecting on my decisions, I knew I needed to change my major.”

At Tarleton she has been active in Alpha Gamma Delta, international women’s organization, where she was elected vice president of the campus chapter.

She also met instructor Crystal Rose, who became a confidante.

“She has been the best mentor, the best professor the last two semesters,” Carlie said. “When I got into the education program, I wasn’t super-confident in my teaching abilities. The second I enrolled in one of her classes, she automatically helped me grow my professional skills and my confidence. She has been so supportive in this online learning and everything we have done.”

Though she’s scheduled to get her diploma in December, Carlie already has plans to work toward her master’s degree, hoping to one day transition into an administrative role.

This time she already knows she’s going to Tarleton.

Tarleton’s College of Education trains future professionals in kinesiology, education, psychological sciences and child and family studies.

Through innovative instruction, professors inspire and guide students to develop the knowledge and spirit to become problem solvers as educators, behavioral scientists, early childhood professionals, coaches and exercise scientists.

The college is home to three departments — Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership & Technology, and Psychological Sciences — as well as the School of Kinesiology and Education Preparation Services.

More than 2,600 students are enrolled in the college, attending classes in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online.

For more information about Tarleton’s College of Education, visit


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