Student teachers are going to be a thing of the past in the College of Education this fall semester as the Ready2Teach program undergoes a huge makeover.
“This fall, right now, is our first year of full implementation with ‘residents,'” said Julie Baker, assistant dean of the College of Education. “They’re going to be called ‘residents’ instead of ‘student teachers.’ We do still have a few student teachers, but that’s being phased out.”
More than just the title of the students in the program is being changed. The entire curriculum of the program is being reworked. Students participating in the Ready2Teach program will be spending much more time in the P-12 classrooms than past students. This year will mark the first year that students will spend the entire academic school year in the P-12 classrooms rather than just one semester.
“We’ve reworked our curriculum so that our teacher candidates can spend more time in the classroom with the P-12 students and less time in the classroom with us,” said Baker. “We believe that it gives them lots of good practice when they get to practice their teaching methods and strategies actually with those P-12 students.”
As with most programs that undergo facelifts, the changes in the Ready2Teach program have put stress on the new students who are entering the program this year.
“The fact that it’s new is hard because we don’t have anyone to ask what it was like before,” said Nancy Landis, a senior at Tech. “We are kind of the guinea pigs since they are still adjusting things.”
The students said they do believe that the reworked program will have a positive impact and that the potential for the program is great.
“It’s not going to be just going in and observing or going in and taking over a classroom, but it’s co-teaching, which is what they keep stressing in all of our classes,” said Landis. “I think that’s going to be really helpful because if we don’t have a co-teacher later on, at least we did now and were able to get the tools and pointers from our mentors that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Senior Jessica Stephens said, “Not only is education changing here at Tech, it’s changing statewide and nationally. We’re going to be the future generation of teachers who have never done SPIs. We’re doing entirely new stuff in every aspect of our careers, so we do have a benefit, I think, in that.”
The new and improved Ready2Teach program will certainly help students put to use what they have learned in their college class and put them face to face with the challenges of applying those concepts.
“There’s a common misconception, I think, in college that if you’re going to become an educator that you’re taking the easy way out, but I think we’ve learned that it’s just the opposite,” said Stephens. “The content might be common sense to a degree, but applying the content is actually a very difficult task.”