Transparency in Teaching (Stuff) Podcast

037 Why Student Teaching Needs a Revamp: Exploring the Challenges and Solutions for Effective Teacher Training

037 Why Student Teaching Needs a Revamp: Exploring the Challenges and Solutions for Effective Teacher Training

I don’t think you’ll find too many current student teachers who disagree that student teaching needs a revamp. Most teacher candidates spend at least 14 weeks student teaching. This consists of 8 hours a day of teaching, lesson planning, and grading. Most teacher candidates attend staff meetings and parent conferences, too.

Wait that sounds like what a regular teacher does. Well, that’s the point, to give candidates an idea of what they are getting into. It allows them to hone their lesson-delivery skills and learn classroom management techniques.

Much more than just practice teaching

At the same time, student teachers are also paying tuition to a university. A university is needed to access the practice teaching required for a credential. This means that beyond the daily teaching requirement, they also have weekly university supervisor meetings and fieldwork hours to track, plus four time-consuming progress checks to fill out every three weeks. Most also attend a university seminar class in the evenings.  And here in California, the ominous California Teaching Performance Assessment, better known as CalTPA, also weighs heavily on their shoulders. Without passing this exam, there is no credential awarded. I know this first hand, as I’m a university supervisor. I’m the one who ensures the teacher candidates turn in all this frivolous paperwork.

A Fiscal Fiasco

I’m sure most states have some sort of similar credentialing requirements. This is way beyond what a regular classroom teacher must endure. All of this is without pay. This puts a huge financial burden on candidates, especially those with established families who may pursue teaching as a second career. They have no time to hold down a job to help pay for school, let alone support themselves or their families. If schools want to attract the best to the profession, student teaching needs a revamp.

In today’s episode, we talk with Ben, a first-year teacher. Ben talks about his teacher preparation program and his student teaching experience (which was fabulous because his cooperating teacher was the one and only Jen!). Ben shares what was difficult and how his pre-teaching experiences benefitted or hindered his time during student teaching. Of course, Jen and Anne have to give their two cents worth as usual, and it’s a valuable two cents at that!

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Should student teachers be compensated for their work? Add your opinion in the comment section, or answer our poll question.

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