My last post focused on how undergraduate students don’t typically think like teachers, at least not until they participate in a field experience. I want to continue to focus on that topic.
Last evening, my colleagues and I hosted a meeting of our Block Students. The purpose of this meeting was to bring the students together and discuss how their experiences have been going. These students have been in the field for a little over a week and have less than 3 weeks to go. We, the faculty, assumed that about half of the students would attend since the meeting was not mandatory. However, all but one student attended and the discussions were amazing. They joined together is discussions about PSSA testing, about classroom management, about professionalism, about lesson planning, and many, many other topics. Not only were they thinking like teachers, they were acting like teachers. It was a very rewarding experience for me. But, it’s also a sad experience because this may be the first time they have felt like real teachers since they began their college careers 3 1/2 years ago.
As I posted previously, this type of field experience needs to happen sooner and more often. So how do we do it? How do we place teacher candidates attending a college in a rural, NW PA community with a limited number of schools, into more field experience settings? How do we provide more rich, authentic field experiences without overwhelming our local school districts?
If you have suggestions, feel free to add comments with your ideas. I’m stumped…