Anderson University’s School of Education is in the third year of a successful internship program that offers student teachers an added semester to experience working more closely with students, parents and administrators.
Dr. Diana Ross, Dean of the SOE, says having education majors spend a full year in the classroom introduces them to what it takes to be a successful teacher.
"They see it all--from the office to the multiple levels of classrooms — all at the same school," says Ross. "Graduates often report that their first year of teaching held few surprises after participating in the year-long internship."
Katie Scott [picture left with students], a recent graduate of the program and now a teacher, says she was pleased with the innovative program.
"Even though it was an exhausting year," Scott notes, "I am glad I was allowed to participate in the full year’s student teaching program. It was a great experience, and I left feeling very prepared to teach."
Rachel Chapman, now teaching in Alabama, agrees.
"Student teaching for a full year at Sunnyside Elementary in Indianapolis gave me valuable experience and honed my skills. Even though I was a student teacher, the school faculty and staff treated me as an equal."
Drs. Linda Duncan and Janice Fulkerson, professors in the AU School of Education, serve as in-school supervisors for the interns.
"This is not to say the traditional program is inadequate," says Duncan, "but those who do the internship come out more prepared to face the first year of teaching. They have confidence in their abilities. They pretty much have seen it all, and they are better equipped to handle the challenges teachers face."
Fulkerson believes she, too, benefits from the experience.
"The program allows me to be in the schools for two full days a week to observe teachers as well as to participate with the students in their professional development opportunities. Consequently, I take back to my campus classes the real world of teaching."
The program is designed so that participants can still graduate in four years. The SOE, however, has retained the traditional one semester student teaching experience for students who cannot financially afford to work for an entire year or cannot complete all their coursework in three years.
Scott admits that student teaching for two semesters was one of her hardest and most demanding experiences.
"I would not, however, trade the past year for anything!"
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.