We have all heard the saying, “Those who can, do: those who can’t teach”. What was once written off as an “easy” profession has since grown and evolved to better engage students and foster better learning. Madi Van Den Eynde reports how education students are becoming better prepared to embark on their future careers.
(Nat sound: children in classroom)
Meghan Han still recalls her first day on the job.
< I was so nervous. I couldn’t sleep the night before and got to my classroom 2 hours before any other teacher>
The 23-year-old from Syracuse knew she wanted to be a teacher all her life.
< Everyone always told me growing up that I would be a perfect teacher. It has never been about the money. I like to be in charge but I also love to help people>
After graduating from college last year, she felt prepared to face the “real world”.
<I think a big part of that was going through the education program and especially student teaching. I started going into school’s and observing teachers in middle and high schools right away my freshman year>
The student teaching experience is designed to give students real teaching experience under supervision of a veteran teacher. Student teaching is a time for emerging educators to clarify their personal goals and objectives as well as learn the skills necessary to be successful in the classroom.
Tyler Fernandez is a sophomore education Student at Syracuse University. With hopes of becoming a high school math teacher, Tyler goes to a local high school to observe and helps an algebra class once a week.
Tyler tutors an individual student and makes interactive lesson plans each week to engage the student in something he is interested in as well as goes along with what they are learning in class.
< This past week we did a lesson on the Syracuse basketball players. I gave him a list of stats from each player and his job was to pick which player was his favorite based on each grade level. And it was a really rewarding experience because Jason, my tutee seemed to really enjoy the time of looking at all the stats.>
These days teacher education is moving away from traditional pencil and paper.
The college education classroom is much more dynamic and interactive than ever before.
<Our job is to be prepared to make lessons as engaging and appealing to the students as possible.>
Meghan Han says one of the best ways she prepared for teaching was learning how to make engaging lesson plans during her undergraduate classes.
<This was great practice and helped me feel prepared for when I was on my own. We spent a lot of times in my classes learning how to make effective lesson plans as well as what is the best way to teach material that students would react to.>
High school classrooms today are becoming more dynamic through better teacher-student communication. Creating a positive relationship between the teacher and student is key helping individual students learn in the best way possible.
<Not every student is the same. We are trained to get to know our students and do more hands on activities. That way you can see the individual students perform and see where they may be struggling. There are more effective ways to test understanding than just tests and quizzes.>
Tyler’s education class is currently working on relationships with not only students but their parents as well.
<My class does parent teacher conference simulations. Each week we are given a different scenario that we could encounter when we are future teachers. We have actors come and play the role of the student and parents.>
Each week the student’s are recorded holding mock parent conferences, and then watch the recordings. They are critiqued on how they handled the situation.
<It can be uncomfortable. But again, it is another way I can be prepared. Communication is not something people necessarily think about when they think of teaching, but it is so essential. >
As the dynamic of the classroom is changing, Meghan says experience is still the best preparation.
< You can be taught tricks and ideas on how to teach a lesson effectively. The best way I was prepared was being in a classroom and having hands on experience. I know each year I will have different students with different needs, but I feel I am prepared to handle that.>
With open lines of communication and hands on experiences, learning to be a teacher is changing with the times—with a focus on interactivity. The end result – better odds that the teachers of tomorrow will bond with students, in a way they never have before.
Madi Van Den Eynde