Pilot Initiative in Education Department Showing Promise
Last year, Trinity’s education department piloted an initiative to establish student teachers in year-long clinical placements. Student teachers are generally placed in two semester-long experiences during their senior year—novice teaching in the fall and student teaching in the spring–but the longer placement comes with its advantages.
Dr. Rhoda Mattson, Trinity’s director of education unit, said year-long placements offer the added benefit of continuity for all involved, including the Trinity students, the students in their classrooms, and the cooperating school districts. In addition, Trinity seniors will now witness the beginning of the school year and be able to take part in their respective schools’ professional development opportunities.
“Students with year-long placements are even better equipped with a strong understanding of the intricacies and demands of being a teacher,” said Dr. Joy Meyer ’78, Trinity’s director of teacher education. “Those who participate in the year-long internship benefit greatly from this program.”
Mattson said less than 10 percent of universities offer year-long placements to their student teachers. She is even more optimistic about this option being available to Trinity education majors since five students were accepted by one local district, District 146, Tinley Park, for the 2014-15 school year.
“In our meeting, they spoke highly of our graduates and are interested in the mentorship of our teachers,” said Mattson, who hopes to establish even more such partnerships with other districts in the future.