Al's observations re: the value of a student teaching experience seem to be well noted. While preservice teachers might observe tapes of classroom management, student discipline, etc., until they have had suppported experience in these areas, there is no way for the student teacher, the cooperating classroom teacher, or a college supervisor to KNOW with any degree of certainty that the individual possesses teaching skills beyond academics. While I appreciate the suggestions that teacher certification be withheld until the first year of teaching (and that with a mentor) is successful, I cannot help wondering where school districts and classrooms exist such that either a) two teachers would be paid for an entire year to cover a single classroom or b) all interested parties in the district would permit or encourage one year contracts with limited possibility of continuing beyond this point? MANY years ago, my mother needed a 'student teaching' experience although she had been employed by her district for at least five years as a 'long-term substitute' in two schools in half-day Kdg. classes. The university's concept of student teaching for her was to arrange with the district for a semester of her services without pay! If I were a district financial officer, I believe that balancing the budget might be much easier if I had similar 'flexibility' in 'hiring' teachers.
There are universities where Entry-year Teacher programs are offered. I am not certain whether such services have a fee attached or whether this is arranged between the university and the participating districts. Students report that such a support program is helpful in establishing a network whether they have a mentoring teacher or not.
I tell my student teachers that this is the time to try out 'new' teaching methods. They are in the rather enviable position of having support from both a college supervisor and a cooperating teacher -- and they do not have to fear loss of position or income. Students in our program are customarily assigned to one urban and one suburban situation. I would prefer that this take place over the course of one year rather than one semester, but expense is a problem.
The comments regarding student teaching found here on the NCTM-L are well worth reading! Thanks to one and all.
Carol Stevens snybscva.cs.snybuf.edu
> > > > Student teaching is probably one of the most important > aspects of an educational program. In fact I would rank > it second, after mastery of subject matter, but above > methodologies. What differentiates it from these other > areas is the experience of interacting with the dynamics > of the classroom under the guidance of an experienced and > caring teacher. > > Some of the traditional non-academic lessons to be learned > from student teaching involve, > > 1) classroom management > 2) student discipline > 3) effective speaking/communication > 4) students' family/parents problems > 5) departmental politics > 6) culture of the school and community > > Possibly many education programs thumb their noses at some > (or most ?) of these, but from my own experience, I know > that industry and government does not (In these non-academic > areas, effective communication is sine qua non for survival). > > Beyond the classroom, I'd believe that student teaching should > naturally evolve into some form collaboration with master > teachers. I don't know how many (if any ?) schools support > this approach, but I think we'd all be more effective teachers > if we did. > > Al Barron > firstname.lastname@example.org > >