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Preservice Residency Helps Candidates Develop Teaching Style, Confidence

Two new videos are available this week in AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series highlighting the St. John’s University (NY) School of Education clinical preparation program known as RISE. This week’s videos show how the experience teacher candidates have in the classroom contributes to their teaching style and to their readiness to teach after completing their 1-year internships. See this introduction to the series for more information about RISE.

The School of Education at St. John’s University (SJU) and its Residential Internship for St. John’s Educators (RISE) in partnership with Queens school districts develop high-quality teachers by exposing candidates intensively to classrooms during their collegiate career. SJU students develop their teaching style and voice and enter the profession feeling confident and prepared, thanks to their residential internship experiences and prolonged mentorship by veteran teachers.

Cooperating teachers at Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School and P.S. 60 work diligently to ensure their candidates are achieving personal growth and professional development.

“What’s key is understanding what it means to be a mentor,” said Mrs. Taylor, a cooperating teacher from Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School. “I don’t want them to become a ‘mini-me’ in the classroom but maybe to take some of the things that I did well – and some of the things that I didn’t do well so they can change it and make it better. They need to really become their own teacher and understand who they are as a teacher.”

The powerful dynamic between the cooperating teacher and student teacher are what allows such a rich partnership. “Finding my teacher voice is really a result of my cooperating teacher’s empowerment,” said student teacher Jeffery Ortega.  “The confidence that I get from my cooperating teacher helps me find my voice.”

The extended internships give candidates a better understanding of the environment and additional roles teachers have in their profession. Aaliyah Henry, another student teacher, knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in the third grade. Her goal as an aspiring teacher is to make individual and personal connections with her students.

Through the RISE program and her internship, she realized there is so much more to the relationship aspect of teaching. “I realized that my relationship with the students is just one fraction of what it is to be a really well-rounded teacher,” she said.

Through rigorous course work that complements their residential internship, SJU students apply their knowledge to live instruction and collaboration. Glenn O’Brien, cooperating teacher at Queens Gateway to Health Sciences, loves to learn from his coteachers. “It’s nice to share ideas with fellow educators right there in front of you as things are transpiring,” he said. “The practical side of teaching is something that you can only get when you’re standing right there in front of the children.”

Visit the Innovation Exchange to catch the previous segments of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, and stay tuned for our next segment on St. John’s University in 2 weeks!


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