The line between teacher and student?usually well defined?becomes blurred when a student decides that he or she would like to become a teacher. That student then takes on both roles in the transition from student to teacher.
This semester, Tabor College has 20 student teachers at schools all around the region. School districts include Hillsboro, Marion, Newton, Wichita, McPher?son, Peabody-Burns, Hess?ton, Hays and Olathe.
Joanna Mays of Hills?boro was one of several student teachers in Marion County this semester. She taught English at Hillsboro Middle School in the mornings and at Hillsboro High in the afternoon.
?I love working with the kids and seeing them succeed in the classroom,? Mays said.
She based most of her lesson plans off the curriculum the school uses, though for one unit she had to make extensive revisions to cover the material in more depth and help students? comprehension. This makes for a heavier workload.
Mays has been offered several teaching positions for next fall but is still deciding what the next step in her future will be.
?I feel like Tabor has helped prepare me to get a job,? Mays said.
In their college years leading up to their final semester, students must complete a number of requirements before they can student teach.
Lynette Cross, chair of education department, oversees the student-teaching program at Tabor.
During interterm of their freshman year, students take Introduction to Education, which offers them initial encounters in a classroom setting from a teaching perspective. The class includes observing a class in session at a school in a nearby town.
They also observe at one of three schools in Wichita to get a sense of an urban school setting. Cross said the education department tries to match students with a classroom that is a grade level and subject that interests them.
For example, some students may observe at an elementary school while others sit in on high school English.
In the semesters leading to their student teaching, they must spend significant time observing in classroom settings. Those wishing to go into secondary education must complete 120 hours of observing while those in elementary education must complete 210 hours.
?When we talk to students before they go out to do their student teaching, one of the things that they say has helped them be prepared?is having had that opportunity to be in classrooms along the way and really get that feel for what it?s like to be in charge of kids,? Cross said.
A central part of Tabor?s student-teaching philosophy is known as ?the five C?s.? These stand for commitment, Christian value, competence, compassion and collaboration. Cross said she believes this is something that makes Tabor?s student-teaching program unique.
Student teaching typically takes place in the spring semester of the student teacher?s senior year. In some cases, though, scheduling issues may require someone to come back for a ninth semester in the fall.
In February, a year before they begin student teaching, Tabor students go through an interview process with Tabor faculty to help match them with a school that would be a good fit for them. The request is sent to the administrator of that school district, who passes it along to the principal of the particular school.
If approved, the future student teacher will attend the first day of class that fall. He or she will also get a chance to learn how to get a classroom ready and attend in-services and meetings.
The student teacher will stay in contact with his or her supervising teacher throughout the fall semester. The following spring, the student teacher takes over with preparing and giving lessons.
He began by teaching only one class, then added another responsibility until he was teaching the full day. After two weeks of full-time teaching, he went through the reverse process of relinquishing classes one at a time.
Trostel did most of his planning at the beginning of the week. However, this fluctuated on a daily basis and he had to be prepared to make adjustments to the schedule. He said there was no typical day of teaching.
Trostel said he has practiced Tabor?s five C?s of teaching so frequently through the education program that integrating them has become habit.
?It more that it?s a daily application,? Trostel said. ?It?s something that I don?t even have to think twice about doing.?
After graduating this spring, Trostel intends to return to California and work with the Department of Education to fulfil a few additional requirements to obtain licensure in his home state.
?I think I?ve always kind of known I wanted to teach,? Trostel said. ?I enjoy helping people and helping them succeed.?
Tabor?s student teaching program is proven to give future teachers the skills they need to get hired.
According to Cross, every one of Tabor?s student teachers who has wanted a teaching job in the past two years has found one. Eight of the 20 current student teachers already have been hired for the next school year.
Jared Janzen, a Tabor College sophomore from Newton, is majoring in communications and English. He wrote this story for his Mass Media Writing II class.