Student Teachers Contend With Interrupted Schedule

Many students are celebrating a month-long Olympic break, but for some it’s more of a disruption.

Student teachers from the department of teaching and learning have to interrupt their normal schedules to accommodate the time off.

“We can’t require student teachers to teach during the break,” said Char Shepard, director of teacher licensure programs. “We are encouraging them to maintain contact with their site teachers, but the time is theirs.”

In a typical year, student teachers have a student practicum during Fall Semester, then in Spring Semester they spend 20 hours a week with a teacher during January, teach full time during February and March and then do a capstone project in April.

However, this year, student teachers started their capstone project first, took February off and will complete their full-time teaching through March and April.

“The buildup is interrupted,” said student teacher Amy Lindsay. “We move from being in the classroom 20 hours a week, to nothing during the break, and then suddenly we’re full time.”

Regardless of the schedule, Shepard thinks it’s fair.

“The students will get as much time teaching as usual,” Shepard said. “This year, it just may be a little bit harder to maintain contacts.”

Although the students will get the same amount of experience, some feel it’s harder to have the interrupted time line.

“It does create a discontinuity in the progression of learning how to teach,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay is working on her capstone project involving the implementation of effective math teaching methods for sixth-graders, which is an ongoing project. Normally, she would have started working on the project in April.

“It hasn’t been too bad because it’s an ongoing project,” she said.

During February, Lindsay plans to stay in touch with her sixth-grade class, but she will also substitute teach.

“I’m signed up to teach any grade and just about any subject in the Salt Lake School District, and I’ll get paid,” she said.

Shepard encourages other student teachers to take advantage of substitute teaching for pay during the break.

Lindsay is in a unique position because she is student teaching for Washington Elementary, which is one of the only schools closing during the Olympics.

“Kids will be affected, but what are you going to do?” Lindsay said. “There is the theory that a break is really interruptive for students, but it’s only a few weeks, so it’s not terrible.”

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