EKU Future Educators Learning in Kentucky Schools
EKU’s College of Education future educators may be learning from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but they continue to work with public educators across the state to provide online learning experiences for K-12 students.
For the first eight weeks of the Spring 2020 semester, EKU future teachers worked in Kentucky classrooms to gain real-world experience. EKU’s College of Education made over 570 placements in elementary, middle, and high schools and in special education classrooms for its undergraduate and graduate students. In these placements, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students work with public educators in 44 of Kentucky’s counties.
After Spring Break as EKU transitioned to online learning, policies were developed so that College of Education students could continue their work with K-12 teachers. Teacher education students are developing online lessons in collaboration with classroom teachers, designing tutorials for non-traditional instruction (NTI) packets, providing online tutoring, helping with meal preparation and delivery, and grading online work to support public schools. For some courses, students are attending virtual professional development sessions and conferences as well as virtual school board and faculty meetings.
This innovative approach to teacher education, often referred to as a clinical model, allows future educators to spend more time in classrooms than in previous decades, and these experiences begin much earlier in their preparation programs. Prior to their semester-long student teaching experience, Eastern’s teacher candidates spend a minimum of 200 hours in classrooms, working with experienced teachers to plan and teach lessons, learn classroom management skills, and participate in professional development. The experiences are carefully planned and each school placement requirement is paired with an on-campus course addressing the key skills and educational trends.
For example, at the sophomore level, students assist and tutor K-12 students in schools while learning about the development of learners in the campus classroom. The junior-level experience pairs courses on curriculum, lesson planning, assessment, and classroom management with K-12 placements focusing on co-teaching. In the final year of EKU’s teacher training program, seniors spend at least 80 hours in K-12 classrooms while learning advanced teaching methods on campus. Finally, EKU’s intensive program culminates with student teaching, during which EKU’s future educators are in K-12 classrooms Monday through Friday for an entire semester. The student teachers teach solo with the mentoring and support of their expert host teachers and EKU supervisors.
“Our future educators work closely with experienced classroom teachers, university supervisors, and College of Education faculty who are all fully committed to their success within this important learning experience.” said Diana Porter, director of the Professional Education Services office. “Our graduates are well-prepared, and we are confident that they can meet the educational challenges of the 21st century. Since I joined the Professional Education Services office in 2018, I have been amazed at how widespread our placements are across Kentucky. Our student teachers can request any district within the state, and we will work to develop an agreement to make this possible.”
This semester, EKU is also supervising 56 teachers seeking certification through graduate-level “temporary provisional certification” and other alternative certification options. The most popular option is the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in which those holding a bachelor’s degree can earn initial certification through graduate level coursework. Qualified candidates in the MAT program can teach while completing state certification requirements.
Pictured in photo: Katelyn Durham, 3rd-grade teacher at West Irvine Intermediate School, academic team coach AND alumnus of EKU's honors program and elementary education program. She is hosting EKU elementary ed. student-teacher Hayley Puckett this spring.
For more information about the MAT program contact Dr. James Dantic
Published on February 10, 2020