Class of 2020 education majors found their student-teaching experience cut short when COVID-19 forced Pennsylvania's K-12 schools to move online. Although Pennsylvania’s Department of Education waived the 12-week student-teacher requirement and the Edinboro University students have been provided alternative assignments to meet all competencies for graduation, Edinboro officials wanted to provide students with the opportunity for a “face-to-face” interaction (even if it is via Zoom) that will allow them to ask questions, learn from the experts in the field and prepare to interview or begin their first job.
To meet this need, Edinboro is offering a free, fifth-year seminar to education majors who expect to graduate in spring 2020, as well as December graduates. The seminar will consist of a 3-part series of panel discussions and conversations with experienced teachers and administrators. One session will be held this summer, with subsequent sessions planned for fall 2020 and spring 2021.
The seminar is open to Edinboro graduates, as well as non-graduates. First and second-year teachers, who often feel anxious about parent communications, classroom and organizational management, are also welcome.
“Students have all of the necessary coursework, but sometimes lack confidence when dealing with the live experience of being a classroom teacher,” said Dr. Stephanie Williams, director of clinical experiences and partnerships for Edinboro’s School of Education.
Williams said this need for additional preparation is something she often witnessed during the 36 years she spent in the Millcreek School District, 11 as a principal and 25 as a teacher. Local superintendents also indicated a need based on their opportunity to provide input as a member of the Edinboro University Educational Partners Advisory Council. When the decision was made to fill a void for current education majors, it made sense to involve teachers just beginning their careers and local school administrators, she said.