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From Pivoting to Disrupting the Status Quo

This is Part 2 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they’ve moved from pivoting to disrupting the status quo as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Being forced to think creatively about how to support student teachers and beginning teachers at Appalachian State University  has resulted in changes that we are now continuing into this semester and beyond.   Using virtual platforms such as Zoom, we have been able to establish connections that have reached more people without the logistical barriers that are typically present.  Taking away barriers such as travel, parking, and time constraints that previously seemed inevitable and unavoidable, have challenged us to consider if they are indeed necessary. What we have realized is that what started out as Plan B is now becoming Plan A.  Providing seamless support for students and teachers that disrupts the status quo has many advantages. 

Overcoming barriers and offering meaningful learning opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers has led us to think differently about how we support our students and teachers.  During the summer of 2020, both of our offices teamed up with the Reich College of Education’s Math & Science Education Center to host a virtual education conference called IDEA-CON.  The conference offered a variety of sessions for educators of all levels, from beginning teachers to teacher educators.  From brief resource sharing sessions to 30-minute idea discussions to panels to plenary speakers, IDEA-CON had something for everyone.  And best of all, we were able to offer this conference for FREE.

Uninterrupted Support in an Interrupted Semester

This is Part 1 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they had to pivot student teaching and new teacher preparation during the spring 2020 semester as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teacher is helping one of her primary school students in the classroom. They are sitting at a table using a digital tablet.

When schools suddenly closed in March of 2020, student teachers and beginning teachers quickly shifted their newly learned pedagogical skills to deliver instruction and grow professionally almost solely by virtual means. The Office of Field Experiences and the Public School Partnership in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University supplied an uninterrupted flow of resources, professional development, and interaction with professional educators in the field.  This shifted from pivoting out of necessity to attempting to disrupt the status quo.  We were quickly introduced to “our new normal”!

Appalachian State University has18 teacher education programs and produces about 450-500 teachers each year. During the student teaching semester, teacher candidates are placed in 45 districts across the state of North Carolina and supervision is conducted by 30-40 part-time University Field Supervisors.

The Public School Partnership provides support, professional development, and resources to 12 school districts in the northwest region of North Carolina. The NC New Teacher Support Program is housed in the Public School Partnership. This program provides weekly coaching and regular professional development to teachers in their first, second, or third years of teaching in those same districts within our area of the state. 

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