THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER INTERN
Every effort is made to prepare teacher interns, both academically and psychologically, for the task ahead. Since internship is a new experience for the candidates, some tension and misgivings may be felt. This reaction is not unusual, even among the best students, and need not be cause for alarm. The well prepared teacher interns have confidence in their ability to change from college students to classroom teachers without difficulty. The teacher interns are looking forward to the challenge and opportunity of proving their own worth.
Two factors are of prime importance in the success of teacher interns: knowledge and personal appearance. Any deficiencies in subject matter must be overcome by hard work on the part of the student. It may mean long hours of studying outside the school day. The cooperating teachers cannot supply the knowledge for the teacher intern.
Personal appearance is the teacher intern’s own responsibility. Students owe it to themselves to look their best at all times. Such essentials as professional dress and appearing well groomed, attending to both neatness and personal hygiene, constitute a regular part of daily preparation and must never be neglected. Teacher interns are expected to follow the dress code for teachers and other professionals in the school to which they are assigned.
The First Few Days:
Since the internship period lasts only twelve weeks, adjustments must be made very quickly. The following efforts and accomplishments on the part of the teacher interns enable them to make a good beginning and set the stage for a successful experience:
1. Get acquainted with other faculty members, including the guidance counselor.
2. Tour the building.
3. Become familiar with the library media center.
4. Learn the cafeteria routine.
5. Read the student handbook, school paper, yearbook, etc.
6. Make a seating chart of students and learn their names.
7. Become familiar with the daily schedule.
8. Learn the school’s policies governing such items as attendance, tardiness, fire drills, visitors in the school and classrooms, announcements, assemblies, and student activities.
9. Learn the school’s policy with regard to grouping students.
10. Work with the cooperating teacher in setting up a schedule of activities for the entire term.
Teacher interns must always keep in mind the fact they are members of the faculty and should conduct themselves in a manner benefiting the dignity of the profession.
The following suggestions are to be strictly adhered to at all times:
1. Be prompt in getting to the classroom and in carrying out all assigned tasks.
2. Be courteous to the students.
3. Report as early as possible to the principal, cooperating teacher, university supervisor, and Office of Field Experiences any absences caused by unavoidable circumstances.
4. Do not be too familiar with the students. Require them to call you “Mr.”, “Miss”, or “Mrs.” Expect the same respect and courtesy of them that the cooperating teacher does.
5. Dress in a professional manner appropriate for a teacher.
6. Do not sit in the same location in the classroom everyday. Change locations to better observe both students and the cooperating teacher.
7. Never appear before a class poorly prepared. Work should be prepared more than twenty four hours ahead of the class. Prepare to take charge of the class at any time when the cooperating teacher may be unexpectedly absent from the room. Students are indulgent and overlook occasional errors and poor knowledge of subject matter, but they soon lose confidence and respect for a teacher intern who is habitually unprepared. Outstanding teachers in a school system always spend much time getting ready for their work. They do not rely on last minute preparation of their lesson or inspirations of the moment.
8. Find things to do. Show initiative and creativeness. Do not make it necessary for the cooperating teacher to tell you everything that you should do. Make yourself useful; you get out of supervised teaching what you put into it. The following activities may suggest ways in which you can fit into the classroom situation smoothly and helpfully:
a. Putting assignments on the board
b. Preparing reference material or demonstration equipment
c. Taking attendance
d. Checking and passing out papers
e. Preparing bulletin boards
f. Assisting with record keeping
g. Checking physical condition of the room including light, heat, bookshelves, activity tables, etc.
9. Never gossip about the school, teachers, or students. Occurrences in the classroom and matters discussed in conferences with the cooperating teacher should be treated confidentially.
10. Use discretion when introducing controversial issues in class.
11. Watch stock expressions which you may be over-using, such as “OK”, “all right”, “of course”, and the “uh” suffix on words.
12. Practice writing on the board until you can write legibly. Give attention to uniform slant and letter height.
13. Acquaint yourself with the textbooks and materials used in the classroom.
14. Get to know your students. Try to adjust all work to their mental level while holding them to a high standard.
15. When the cooperating teacher has charge of the class, do not spend time grading papers or reading. Time should be spent in observation, looking for specific classroom behaviors.
16. If your teaching situation is unsatisfactory, take the problem to the cooperating teacher, university supervisor, or Director of Field Experiences. Do not discuss it on the campus or in the dormitory.
17. Spend at least twenty hours on multi-level observation.
The final week:
During the final week teacher interns must be very careful to return all books and/or materials borrowed from the library or the cooperating teacher. All teacher interns must return to the Delta State University campus for a final seminar after completion of internship. At this time they complete licensure applications and may meet with the Director of Field Experiences and/or their university supervisors to complete any necessary forms or turn in any other needed documentation.
ACTUAL TEACHING EXPERIENCE
When the teacher intern has developed enough poise and confidence for teaching, the cooperating teacher permits the candidate to teach a single class for which the teacher intern has planned. After several days of teaching a single class, the teacher intern should add additional classes until the candidate moves to full time teaching. How fast the teacher intern moves to full time teaching is determined by the candidate and the cooperating teacher. The number of hours actually taught by a teacher intern and the exact time for teaching must be governed by existing conditions in the school and the classroom. The more hours a teacher intern is able to teach, the better. The teacher intern should, at a minimum, teach all classes of the cooperating teacher for a full week.
The cooperating teacher should require that all lesson plans and units be prepared in ample time to be checked and revised before they are used by the teacher intern. No candidate should be allowed to teach a lesson that has not been approved. This procedure enables the cooperating teacher to determine strengths and areas of improvement before the crucial moment of instruction by the teacher intern.
The cooperating teacher is encouraged to leave the room for brief periods of time after he/she feels the teacher intern is capable of handling the situation adequately. The teacher intern needs ample opportunity to develop initiative and use good judgment. This suggestion does not mean that the teacher intern is to be left alone for an extended period of time, nor with classes that may be difficult to control. Classes should not be turned over to a teacher intern on a moment’s notice, except in the case of an emergency. The cooperating teacher is responsible for problems which may arise in the class, even thought the cooperating teacher may be out of the room at the time.
Daily conferences should be scheduled by the cooperating teacher to include planning for the following day and week, along with discussion of the progress, strengths, and areas of improvements of the teacher intern.
All teacher interns’ absences should be reported immediately to the Office of Field Experiences and to the university supervisors. There are no excused absences in internship, and all absences must be made up if the 60 day minimum requirement is not met. Extended absences demand a withdrawal from the program for that semester. The cooperating teacher has complete authority over the teacher intern at school. Reasonable requests, suggestions, or requirements must be respected by the teacher intern. These regulations are made to help develop a thoroughly qualified teacher. Refusal to comply is grounds for dismissal from the Teacher Education Program.
Delta State University has adopted the “pass-fail” system of evaluating teacher interns. When the teacher intern successfully completes his/her program, he/she will be a well prepared teacher. Each new teacher will have successfully passed all indicators in the Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI) and the Teacher Work Sample (TWS).
The cooperating teacher submits a recommendation, a dispositions rating, a midterm evaluation, and a final evaluation on the teacher intern. These evaluations and a time log are considered when determining a final pass or fail grade.
Teacher Intern Responsibilities and Forms:
1. Observe the cooperating teacher for the first few days, learning student names, procedures, routines, etc.
2. Begin by teaching one lesson/subject and progress to full-day teaching within seven weeks.
3. Compile a notebook of plans taught and a log of observation and teaching times.
4. Prepare lesson plans using the DSU guide or other guide as approved by the university supervisor. NOTE: Begin with the long form and only move to the short form when approval has been given by the cooperating teacher and the DSU supervisor. ALL LESSON PLANS MUST BE APPROVED AND INITIALED BY YOUR COOPERATING TEACHER AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFORE YOU TEACH THE PLAN. YOU MAY NOT TEACH A LESSON THAT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY YOUR COOPERATING TEACHER.
Prepare extra activities in case any lesson runs short. Have an interesting article from the newspaper, an intellectual puzzle, etc. for the students if you have extra time. Come to school “over-prepared” with activities.
5. Prepare your TIAI unit along with your TWS. The TIAI must be approved by the cooperating teacher and then given to the university supervisor at least two weeks before teaching the unit. The cooperating teacher and/or the supervisor have the right to delay the teaching of the TIAI if the unit is not adequately prepared.
6. Prepare the TWS to use in planning the TIAI.
8. Submit your weekly reports to your DSU supervisor on Thursday of each week, either by fax or email, according to supervisor preference. Record days attended and days absent on the monthly documentation of days calendar.
DOCUMENTATION OF DAYS – FALL 2013
9. At the end of the semester, make sure your cooperating teacher has turned in all of your required paperwork in Task Stream.
10. A suggested time line for your internship semester is as follows:
Weeks 1 and 2: Attend staff development sessions with your cooperating teacher. Assist your cooperating teacher in preparing the classroom for students. Orient yourself to the school and classroom. Work with individual students, learn classroom routines, and discuss plans, duties, and activities with the cooperating teacher.
Week 3: Continue observing in the classroom. Plan and teach at least two lessons this week. Conference with your cooperating teacher. Begin to assume some classroom responsibilities. Discuss possible TIAI topics and schedule a tentative date to begin teaching the TIAI.
Weeks 4-5: Assume more teaching responsibilities by teaching multiple periods and/or lessons. Construct a bulletin board. Continue conferencing with the cooperating teacher and your university supervisor to evaluate your performance as a teacher. Work on TIAI and TWS. Observe at least 2 hours in other grade levels and/or subject areas.
Weeks 6-7: Continue to teach multiple lessons each week with conferences with your cooperating teacher and supervisor. Observe/teach at least 4 hours in other grade levels and/or subject areas.
Weeks 8- 9: Submit your TIAI/TWS to your cooperating teacher and then to your university supervisor for approval. Finalize date to begin teaching the TIAI. Construct TIAI bulletin board. Continue teaching multiple lessons. Observe/teach at least 4 hours in other grade levels and/or subject areas.
Weeks 10 – 11: Successfully teach TIAI unit with evaluations from your cooperating teacher and DSU supervisor. Submit last two sections of TWS (analysis section and reflection/self-evaluation section) to your DSU supervisor. Continue to assume more and more teaching responsibilities each week. For at least 5 days, assume complete responsibility for the classroom, carrying out all teaching and other duties your cooperating teacher normally assumes. Construct another bulletin board. Observe/teach at least 4 hours in other grade levels and/or subject areas.
Weeks 12 – 17: Continue to teach lessons as assigned by your cooperating teacher. Construct a final bulletin board. For at least 5 days, assume complete responsibility for the classroom, carrying out all teaching and other duties your cooperating teacher normally assumes. Observe/teach at least 4 hours in other grade levels and/or subject areas.
Month of December and/or May: TIAI and dispositions evaluations are due in Task Stream by supervisors and cooperating teachers. Continue to teach lessons as assigned by your cooperating teacher and continue to teach lessons in other grade levels/subject areas. Make sure you have submitted everything your supervisor and the Office of Field Experiences needs. Make sure your cooperating teacher has turned in everything he/she needs to on Task Stream and in hard copy to the Office of Field Experiences.
NOTE: YOU ARE NOT TO WORK ON LESSON PLANS DURING YOUR SCHOOL DAY. DURING THE DAY, YOU SHOULD EITHER BE TEACHING, OBSERVING, OR ASSISTING WITH TEACHING. YOUR PLANNING PERIOD IS THE ONLY TIME DURING THE SCHOOL DAY IN WHICH YOU SHOULD WORK ON LESSON PLANS, INCLUDING THE TIAI AND TWS.