Teaching internships: Experience, Compensation, Observation, and Feedback

Teaching Internships

Teaching internships are different from practicums because they are full-time positions in one of the district schools. These positions usually pay 1/2 salary of a regular teacher.

The intern is introduced to the classroom as a student teacher by the cooperating teacher who guides them on a daily basis until they become the team responsible for instruction. Weekly seminars are also part of the program.

Experience in a Primary or Secondary School

Student teaching is a vital stage in the educational process for many prospective teachers. It is a time when theory meets practice and teacher candidates discover their passion for education. However, it can also be a challenging period in their lives.

Teacher interns are assigned a cooperating teacher to help them gain hands-on experience in the classroom. They assist their host in preparing class materials and give classes to small groups of students. They may also shadow their hosts when they carry out administrative duties.

They must follow the school’s policies and procedures. They must communicate with their host teacher and SFSC program coordinator regularly. In addition, they must submit daily lesson plans and demonstrate proficiency in Florida Standards. They are also required to attend weekly seminars at their college. They should be willing to accept constructive feedback from their host teacher and SFSC supervisors. They should not work additional jobs during the full-time internship semester.

Getting Paid

Traditionally, experienced teachers mentored student teaching interns without compensation. But as the demand for teacher education majors grew, universities began paying student teachers a small honorarium to compensate their mentors.

The school year teaching internship is one of the most important components in a future educator’s preparation. Teacher interns are expected to be punctual and fully engaged throughout their semester internship, attending faculty meetings, in-service training programs and parent conferences. They also must observe classrooms and participate in administrative duties such as lunch duty, supply management and faculty meetings.

Teachers who complete their internship successfully are recommended for state licensure. To do so, the teacher intern must be free of unexcused absences from school and attend seminars pre-scheduled by the program coordinator or supervisor. Moreover, the teacher intern must receive positive evaluations from the cooperating teacher and program coordinator. Then and only then will the intern be able to move from student teacher to full time teacher.

Getting Observation Hours

The most important part of a teacher internship is observing. A teacher intern must spend a significant amount of time in classrooms observing the work of cooperating teachers and learning student names and procedures. Interns may be asked to help with administrative tasks and attend meetings as well.

When a teacher intern feels ready to teach, the cooperating teacher allows them to take over classes for short periods of time. The intern should try to teach a variety of classes, gradually working up to full-time teaching.

The number of hours of observation is a key factor in determining the intern’s pass or fail grade. Students should check with their academic advisor to find out if their degree program requires a practicum or internship and how many observation hours they are required to earn. They should also talk to their school’s academic advisor if they are interested in receiving academic units for their teaching internship. Generally, units are earned in place of a regular class and count as part of the student’s coursework for the degree.

Getting Feedback

During the internship, students are expected to participate in a number of meetings that provide them with feedback on their work. Getting this feedback is essential to a successful internship and should be an important part of any pre-service teacher training program.

Usually, the internship ends with a co-assessment meeting in which two university supervisors, an assigned supervisor who has accompanied the student intern through the internship process and a visiting supervisor who is present during the final activity of the teaching activity observe the student teacher. Then, they jointly conduct a certification assessment of the student teacher.

This qualitative study examined the levels of feedback formulated by university supervisors during 14 co-assessment meetings of their student teachers in French-speaking Belgium. The results showed that the certification objective of the internship meeting influenced the level of feedback mobilized. When the certification was not the goal, the feedback was more socio-constructivist and formative. This type of feedback helps student teachers to take responsibility for their own learning.

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