JACKSON, Tenn. – Nov. 4, 2013– Union’s School of Education acknowledged and celebrated its new yearlong internship program for the class of 2015 majoring in special education and elementary education Sept. 30 in the Carl Grant Events Center.
“We initiated the Union University Teacher Education Initiative in response to the crisis in today’s public schools,” said Ann Singleton, associate dean of the School of Education and professor of special education. “As a result of that initiative, the elementary and special education programs of study included the yearlong internship. This change went through curriculum last year, and we are moving current students into that yearlong internship.”
The transition into this internship will be implemented in the fall of 2014. Students will have the opportunity to experience a full year of teaching, starting from the first day when teachers attend in-service. In the past, students had one semester of student teaching.
“Now, they are going to come even before Union starts class, and they will see how that classroom teacher gets their students into a classroom setting, how they establish a community and a learning environment,” Singleton said. “The students will be able to experience what a complete year of teaching looks like.”
During the fall semester, students will be in their designated classrooms two days a week and in Union classes two days a week. Fridays will be a day to prepare and plan for the week ahead. During the winter and spring semesters, students will transition into five days a week in their designated classrooms.
This change will affect the class of 2015 for special education and elementary education majors. Plans are in process for secondary education majors to make the transition as well in the future.
Although different than the past, students are embracing the change.
“The School of Education at Union is making strides in its effort to equip transformational teachers,” said Emily Williams, a junior elementary education major. “Though the new internship will be quite different, I think that it will help us to become comfortable in the classroom prior to graduation.”
Singleton said the School of Education understands the need to prepare students for classrooms of the world and to teach them how to navigate the bumps in the road.
“We’ve been preparing good teachers for a long time,” Singleton said. “However, today’s culture puts so much emphasis on test scores, data-driven instruction and teacher evaluations. Historically, teachers may have been given a year to understand what they are doing and to fine tune things, and that is no longer true.”
The yearlong internship program is designed to ease students into a real classroom setting, allowing the students to be better prepared for post-graduation teaching, she said.
By Mckenzie Masters (’14)