How Better Preparing Your Teacher Candidates Can Save Time and Money
If you could build a teacher prep program from scratch, what would it look like?
This wasn’t a theoretical question for Loleta Sartin. In 2005, Sartin helped develop—from the ground up—a progressive teacher education program at Middle Georgia State University, formerly known as Macon State College.
So what did she focus on? Giving candidates as many classroom experiences as possible. The program “ensured our teacher candidates were not just staying in the ivory tower,” explained Sartin. On day one, the faculty taught their courses on-site at local schools.
A decade later, Middle Georgia State found a way to provide its teacher candidates with even more diverse classroom experiences by adopting a video-based assessment tool called GoReact.
Soon, GoReact became an indispensable tool for Sartin and her colleagues to better prepare their candidates while saving their program time and money.
Improving Feedback and Reflective Practice
In the beginning, GoReact was just a tool to expand fieldwork to classrooms outside the 50-mile radius that Middle Georgia State’s program served. But as Sartin used GoReact to remotely observe her teacher candidates, the list of benefits from using GoReact grew to include the following:
- Expanding fieldwork opportunities geographically
- Providing specific, evidence-based feedback
- Speeding up skill development
- Prompting reflective practice
- Offering flexibility during the pandemic
Overall, Sartin and her colleagues witnessed growth and improvement in their teacher candidates.
“We realized our supervisors gave more in-depth feedback on the videos than they did face-to-face,” Sartin recounted. “And the teacher candidates talked about how meaningful that feedback was utilizing GoReact.”
The GoReact feedback had a tremendous impact on Sartin’s students. “The turnaround time in correcting the issue was almost immediate,” she observed. “Once they saw it, they were able to correct it.”
But for Sartin, “the overall benefit was having candidates that were more reflective of their practice.” She also discussed how a tool like GoReact helped teacher candidates reflect on important issues like equity and social justice. “It has helped students not to just reflect on their teaching practice, but on how they’ve created a community in their classroom,” she explained.
Saving Time and Money
When specifically asked what challenges GoReact helped her program solve, Sartin promptly responded, “time, money, time, money, time, money.”
GoReact’s intuitive design saved Sartin and her colleagues’ hours on providing feedback. The option of remotely observing teacher candidates also cut down the program’s travel costs and saved faculty even more time.
Not only did using GoReact give students access to different teaching environments across the state of Georgia, it also freed up more resources for Middle Georgia State. “We could cut back on our travel budget and utilize those resources in other places to afford candidates’ other experiences,” said Sartin.
Producing the Best Teacher Candidates
Even when discussing how Middle Georgia State saved time and money using GoReact, Sartin always returned to the bigger picture. “Yes, we’re all time-conscious,” she said. “Yes, we’re all budget-conscious. But I think what is universal across the board for any college of education is they want to produce the best candidate.”
To put it simply, with GoReact, the Teacher Education Program at Middle Georgia State produced better candidates. “The time and money became kind of by-product benefits,” Sartin admitted.
You’re on to something good when saving your teacher prep programs time nd money are some of the by-products. And that’s why Sartin is thrilled that GoReact will be used at Mercer as she transitions to her new role as associate dean for Mercer University’s College of Education.
“We are starting to use GoReact this fall at Mercer University,” she revealed. “We’re excited about the opportunity.”
Learn how GoReact can better prepare your teacher candidates.
Gamblin is the host of the Teacher Education Podcast and an employee at GoReact. She’s a trained literary scholar and university writing instructor who traded Shakespeare and Cavendish for content marketing.