Q&A With an Alum from the Neag School’s Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates

Neag alumnus, Zato Kadambaya, teaches a math lesson at New London High School in New London, Conn.
Neag alumnus, Zato Kadambaya, teaches a math lesson at New London High School in New London, Conn.

Zato Kadambaya ’01, ’04 came to the U.S. from Africa, studying with the intention of going into electrical engineering. Returning to Africa, he was inspired to help people receive a better education and decided to become a teacher. The Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) through UConn’s Neag School of Education helped him fulfill his dream.

Kadambaya became a teacher in one year, and currently serves as the math department chair at New London High School in New London, Conn. Spotlight recently connected with him about his experience with TCPCG.

Q: What are the strengths of the TCPCG program?

A: For me, TCPCG stands for Total and ComPrehensive Curriculum Guaranteed for successful teaching. As a school leader, I have recruited, trained, and worked with many teachers from different teachers’ training programs.

TCPCG makes it easy to transit from one nonteaching career background to a successful teaching career. This is very important as an alternative, nontraditional pathway to teaching.

TCPCG’s graduates are professional teachers, equipped to embrace the teaching profession with strong classroom management and effective content delivery skills.

TCPCG has unmatched resources and experienced faculty to train and mentor future teachers.

More importantly, TCPCG keeps in touch with alumni.

Q: What was the program’s impact on your career path?

A: TCPCG gave me a second chance – with confidence. I was a successful engineer (plant assistant manager), but I was not fulfilled in my career. With TCPCG’s strong preparation, I hit the teaching ground running, needing little or no assistance (which is very common for many TCPCG’s colleagues I know and work with). Effective in classroom management and lesson development, I scored 4/4 on the State BEST program in my second year of teaching. As a result, I was asked by the state to present to second-year teachers. Thank you, TCPCG.

Q: How did the program help you to become a teacher?

A: TCPCG gave me the training I needed to be effective in the classroom. TCPCG showed me how I can bring my engineering skills into the teaching profession. This is the key, since TCPCG uses diverse backgrounds as an asset for success – and not a liability.

Q: Why did you want to go into teaching?

A: I have a strong belief that a successful life is not measured by the job title, but by how one is able to positively impact other people’s lives. With this as my moral compass, I find it natural to embrace the teaching profession where I will have the opportunity to help shape our future minds – our children.

Neag School of Education’s TCPCG program is accepting applications until Dec. 1. Check out this video from other TCPCG alums describing their experiences.