Immersive Teacher Experiences

If we are truly serious about recruiting teachers, then I have a few suggestions I would like to offer.

First, high schools should all provide future teacher programs in high schools. Students who are interested in the teaching field can take a semester long course in which they are paired with a mentor teacher and act as a teaching assistant in the class. Providing an experience like this in the student’s senior year could be quite beneficial for students. They would get to experience some of the demands of the classroom from the teacher’s point of view and determine if teaching is a path they want to continue. Partnerships with elementary and middle schools could provide opportunities for those students interested in those grade levels as well.

Secondly, colleges should make sure to provide early field experience/observation hours from the beginning of the students education in the teaching program. Here in Illinois, 100 field experience observation hours must be completed before student teaching. I attended a small, private college and the path for completing these hours was clearly laid out for me, beginning with 10 hours the first semester of my freshman year. Those 10 hours confirmed that teaching was a field I wanted to enter (although I did change my majors focus from social studies to English…and now I’m teaching science!). However, for some of my classmates, those 10 hours showed them that teaching is NOT a field they wanted to enter. The next semester they chose a new path to take. Teaching is not for everyone, and those students were lucky to figure that out early in their education. At larger universities, field experience hours are often not completed until junior and senior years. At that point, it is almost too late to drop out of the teaching program without having to spend more than the normal four years completing your education. Having opportunities for early field experiences can only improve the pool of potential teachers.

Thoughts? Leave a comment!

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6 thoughts on “Immersive Teacher Experiences

  1. At my school, we have a very successful teacher academy as a career major for our students. The students take education classes along with their regular academic courses. In their senior year, they do an internship at one of the neighboring middle or elementary schools. It gives them a great early experience in what teaching is really like. They also observe a variety of classes throughout our school from the point of view of a teacher. It is a great program. I agree that all schools should incorporate something similar.

  2. I think this is a great idea and one provided by my daughter’s high school. As a result of this experience, she decided not to become an art teacher. She is now pursuing a degree in criminal justice while working for an insurance agency. I think it is important that she pursues her own life’s calling…not mine! 🙂

  3. I love that you posted this because I completely agree! I went to a large high school on the west side of Chicago, and a great class that was offered was Elementary Teaching Internship. I took it my entire senior year of high school and not only did it confirm my love of teaching but it also helped me to discover that I hated teaching first grade as I initially intended while also confirming a love for middle school students. I am extremely glad that I was able to have this opportunity as my Education degree from Ohio State did not afford me the opportunity of more than two quarters of clinical hours in a school in my undergrad. It is only from this class in high school that I learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy, etc. These classes are definitely worth school funding.

    • Great idea, but I happen to be a 6-12 teacher still searching for a job since 2009, so perhaps before we recruit new teachers we should employ those we have!

      Donna

      • I am by no means saying that younger teachers are better in any way. The job market sucks for everyone, especially for recent college graduates. In my mind it just comes down to who has the skills and who can devote more time and attention to the job. A more experienced teacher may or may not be better than me and that is fine. But don’t say that all new teachers should be passed over for teachers with more years behind them.

      • No, I think you’ve misunderstood. I am definitely not saying that at all because I am that new teacher, but just happen to have been a nontraditional older student.

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