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What is/was your education program like?
Old 08-12-2013, 01:55 AM
 
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My internship is next fall, but I only have a handful of classes to complete between now and then. I've been lurking on this particular forum for a few years now and I've noticed some differences in some of the programs described. Like doing more than one practicum. Because we all live in different states, I am curious to know what is/was your education program like?

At my college, all students have to do a certain amount of field experience hours per education course with an specific objective (ex: present a lesson to a small or large group) in mind. However, sometimes, the objective is just to observe and/or volunteer in a classroom. Field experience hours can we anywhere from 6 hours to 20 hours per course.

To get into the program, we have to take the FTCE General Knowledge test. Prior to doing the internship, we are required to take our subject area exam (mine being ECE) and we must subject an initial portfolio of samples of different assignments throughout our classes with aligned objectives that demonstrate our mastery. Before the end of our internship, we must take the FTCE Professional Knowledge test or we will not receive our degree and we must submit a final portfolio for review.

Our internship is 12 weeks. 8+ hours a day and five days a week. I am not sure about how our internship is structured yet because my college only gives that information to people who are close to starting it. However, I do know that we are allowed three choices for placement and are normally always honored. Professor observations are definite, but the frequency is not mentioned.


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Old 08-12-2013, 02:51 AM
 
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I'm from Illinois and I graduated in Dec. 2012. My program required the passing of a basic skills test to gain entry into the program. We had field hours assigned to each course. We usually observed our first and sometimes second visit and after that became very hands-on. I was always providing extra support, teaching small groups, teaching mini- lessons. Each semester we had 100 - 200 field hours. In our content- specific courses, we usually had to teach two to four lessons per class.


Senior year, we must pass a teaching test that is content area specific and have a overall GPA of a 3.0. We also participate in what is called early experience . Regardless if you student teach in the spring or fall, we our assigned to cooperating teacher from the time teachers report back through the first two weeks of school. This helps to learn how to establish a classroom at the beginning if the year. I thought it was beneficial . Most of us also come in the summer to help our cooperating teacher set- up their room. If student teach in spring , you are assigned field hours there If you student teach in the fall, you just continue into student teaching after early experience.


We are expected to pick up a subject a week until you have the whole day . We had intensives ( when we were in charge for a minimum of 5 weeks). Teachers are supposed to stay out of the room as much as possible during that time. In my case , it more like six weeks and half weeks. The only time I saw my cooperating teacher was during lunch or when she observed my lessons for feedback. I knew I could call on her if I needed too.We then hand back a subject at time until everything is given back. Our last week we observe other teachers in the building. During student teaching, we must pass the state professional teaching standards test in order to earn your degree.We must also turn in a digital portfolio that shows how we mastered each objective/ professional teaching standard .


New for student teachers( my group was the pilot), is that they have to video tape their teaching. Our university supervisor who came bi- weekly to check on us does the video taping. This tape is then evaluated my a third party panel. You must pass their evaluation to recieve certification. You only have two attempts I believe to turn in a tape piece with your reflection . Since, I was in the pilot group , I just had lesson videotaped and did the reflection. We did not have turn the videos into a board . Student teachers this year will have too.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:31 PM
 
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At my university you have to apply to get into the teacher prep program. You take a few pre-requisite courses, fill out the application, do an interview, and do a timed writing test. Then once you're in the program, you can take your education courses. My university requires students to take the Praxis II in the content area before student teaching. Then in your senior year, you do fieldwork one semester once or twice a week (elementary candidates go in a classroom all day twice a week, subject area students go once a week) and you finish up any classes you need, and student teaching is the last semester. Student teaching is 16 weeks long and you're required to be at the school the whole day, plus any staff meetings or professional development workshops.

I loved my university and felt that I had so many resources that prepared me to be a good teacher. The only thing that I wished is that we had more field experiences. Our professors encouraged us to substitute teach and work in schools but not everyone has the ability to do that (I had to take classes 5 days a week and work two jobs on top of that, I had no time to sub!) Luckily for me I went to a different college first and I had a lot of field experiences there. Thankfully they went well and I knew that I belonged in the classroom before student teaching. There were some people I knew from classes that were hit like a ton of bricks when it came to student teaching because they had never set foot in a classroom before.
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:16 PM
 
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I attended an Oregon college that was part of a cohort style program. There was a group of us, about 12-15, who were all going through the program at the same time. We had every single class together, and our practicums were at the same time. It created a very tight knit group, and we are all very close now.

Practicums/Classroom Hours were:

*I had to take two basic skills tests before acceptance into the program and spend 40 hours volunteering in a classroom setting.

*After acceptance into the program, we did a 15 day practicum with a teacher. During that time I had to observe, journal my thoughts about procedures, observe special education, and be the teacher's right hand. I was fortunate enough to be with a close friend, and had opportunities to teach small groups and the whole group a few times.

* Reading Buddy- 40 hours spent (outside of my own classes) reading with an ESL student, making a plan of action to improve skills, and journaling all sessions.

* ESL practicum (for my ESOL endorsement)- I can't remember the total hours. I'm thinking it was 20-30, though.

* At the same time as the ESL practicum, I did a regular classroom practicum for 40 hours in a primary level classroom (k-2), and again had a reading buddy. This student wasn't ESL, but had to be a struggling emergent reader.

*The next term was another 40 hour practicum in an elementary level classroom (4-6).

*Finally, student teaching with full control of the class for six weeks for a total of 10-12 weeks depending on the school.

During all my practicums I was also required to observe other cohort members, record myself teaching and analyze strengths and weaknesses then present them, write two research projects with 30 page minimum length requirements and apply my research to my classroom then present it to my cohort, and teach units. The first practicum was a 5 lesson unit, the second was a 10 lesson unit, and during my student teaching I did two 15 lesson units. All the units had to include pre-post assessment data, scripted lesson plans, and evaluations of every single lesson, and an overall assessment of how students performed, my strengths and weaknesses etc.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:49 AM
 
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No one will read all of this, but it was very therapeutic to write it.

For my college, you didn't need to do anything special to get into the Education program.

I didn't have an ideal experience, honestly. Halfway through my time there, they completely changed the curriculum and state requirements and a lot of the staff left and got replaced.

That being said, the things I experienced freshman and sophomore year are probably not an accurate account of how things are done anymore, but 5 years ago it was. I graduated in May 2013.

FRESHMAN YEAR:
- Everyone starts first year as a regular education major.

- first semester boring required general ed courses (math, english, science elective, humanities, etc)

-second semester you were to begin a couple basic, universal education courses. I forget what they were though, tbh.

- at the end of your second semester, you were required to meet with an academic counselor to choose your specialty (ECE, elementary, special ed, secondary, etc) so that you were granted online access to register for related introductory courses.

Since I was a transfer student, I did things a bit differently. I had already taken most of my gen eds at my community college, so I began the education courses my very first semester (fall 2008), and my second semester was basically full of electives because I wanted to get them out of the way.

SOPHOMORE YEAR:
- in fall, we were required to take the basic knowledge test (it was basically like taking the SATs again, but this one lasted longer - a computer option wasn't available when I took it in 2009 so I spent a rainy November Saturday in a lecture hall taking this wretched test). The test that I took is no longer being issued now and is called something different, but I assume it's similar. I got my scores around Christmas and was permitted to continue with my education courses.

-we were required to take a technology course, history course, writing intensives, language course, and an economic course, as well as some more general courses for education majors (diversity in education, assessment and evaluation, child development) and specialized ones (children's literature, early language and literacy)

- we were in classrooms for the first time (we needed 20 hours a semester I think). We were really just observing and helping the teachers out. We were not permitted to choose or request ANY of our placements and had to wait until we were assigned somewhere. You had to figure out when you could go to the school and how it would fit in with your schedule and had to figure out how you would get there, whether it was easily accessible to you or not. I was assigned a school across town and didn't drive at the time. For the sophomores the following semester, they were given Fridays off classes so that they could attend the school that day, since so many people in my class had difficulty finding time to get to their placements with their class and work schedules. All teachers in the classroom had to sign a paper stating that you spent hours there that day, and those papers were turned in to our professors to prove that we had done the hours.

JUNIOR YEAR:
Now here's where it got dicey for me. I went through a semester and a half of my junior year when we were told that our curriculum was changing and we'd basically need to do the year over again with new classes. We also found out that a LOT of classes we had taken were no longer required (the language, writing intensives, history, and economics courses of our sophomore year for example). So we basically had a ton of wasted credits and were told that we would be graduating a full year later than we had planned. We were also told that they were doing away with the special ed program the following year, and that ALL of the specialties would be given a much more intense focus on inclusion. Special ed majors literally needed to transfer schools to stay with their major or choose a new specialty. Mine was the first class to go through this program and there were so many staff changes in the dean's office and advising staff that none of them knew what was going on and we were constantly getting wrong information. It was actual chaos and I almost dropped out. ANYWAY, junior year (the second time around):

- At this point, a 3.0 GPA needed to be maintained to remain in the program.

- we, too, had a cohort. There were 20 of us - we had all of our methods classes together and did our practicum hours in the same school. I liked the idea of a cohort, but spending such long 7 hour days sitting in class together without a break, we very easily got on each others nerves and there was actually a lot of fighting and personality clashes. It was extremely stressful. We didn't become close.

- fall we did our methods classes (math, literacy, science, and social studies) from 8-3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and practicum hours in the school on Wednesdays from 9-3. Again, we were assigned the school. This was the first time we had to teach in the classroom - we had to teach a math/science lesson, a literacy/social studies lesson, and we had to design and co-teach a lesson with one of our peers in whatever subject we wanted. All of these lessons were observed. There were four of us in each practicum classroom, which was AWFUL.

- The workload was MUCH more intense overall. I found it difficult to enjoy spending time with the children because there was always some assignment I needed to write about my interactions with them. I felt like I was writing a dozen lesson plans a week for my methods courses in addition to other papers and assignments we needed done for them. How I got a 4.0 that year, I will never understand.

- the spring semester focused almost entirely on inclusion, special education and differentiating instruction. Every class that semester was a SPED class, and we were assigned to do our hours in inclusion classrooms to work with students with special needs. Yet again, we were assigned to the school. We needed to spend 2 hours in the classroom on Wednesday afternoons (1-3). My partner and I were accidentally assigned to two classrooms at the same time and had to figure out how to split our time wisely between them. We brought this issue to the attention of the school's placement coordinator to ask that we only be given one room like everyone else and we were told no because she didn't want to offend one of the teachers by taking us out and putting us in the other room.

- in the spring we were required to teach a lesson to a small group of children with learning disabilties, and a lesson to a small group of ELLs. For some reason we didn't have a supervisor this semester, so these lessons were not observed or evaluated by anyone. We also had to choose one student and administer a few reading assessments to them and write papers analyzing their results.

SENIOR YEAR:
- in the fall, we were told that we needed 30 hours in the classroom, then we were told less than a week later that we weren't going to do them because they wanted to focus on finding quality placements for everyone's student teaching the following semester. Our dean apparently appealed to the Department of Ed and requested that our class get those hours waived. So in the fall, we were not in classrooms, and had more classes focusing on inclusion

- We took our educational theory tests in the fall. We needed to pass these tests to begin student teaching. It was a computerized test and we were given our scores immediately.

- in the spring, we did our full time, 15 week student teaching internship, gradually taking on subjects. We had to lead the class full time for 5 weeks. We were observed 4 times by our supervisor and were evaluated by our CTs twice.

- during student teaching, we were also required to take a senior seminar class to discuss our woes, successes, and how to make our portfolios

- at the end of the semester, we had to sit our final interview, where we had to present our entire student teaching portfolio (chosen lesson plans, student work, a write-up assignments) to our seminar instructor and another person in the education department. We were graded on our presentation and interview, and on the portfolio itself.

Hoo, that was a doozy. Bless you if you read all of that


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Old 09-21-2013, 03:53 AM
 
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Wow, it's amazing to see how different each program is. Makes you wonder if all teacher preparation programs truly prepare you for being inside of the classroom aside from the student teaching. Even with the student teaching, I hear that doesn't prepare you enough.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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I consider myself very lucky with regards to my school and the field experience I have gotten. As an early childhood major, I started my field experience the spring semester of my freshman year. I start as one half day a week and was required to teach 3 observed lessons throughout that semester. In my sophomore year we completed a year of one half day a week in a classroom and taught 3 observed lessons per semester. Junior year was one full day in a classroom all year with 3 observed lessons a semester. Senior year is two full days in the fall with 3 lessons and full time in the spring with 3 formal lessons and 2 consecutive weeks of solo teaching. I love that I have gotten so much field experience.
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