Photo courtesy of Pixabay
The pandemic has affected a number of college students and the way they go about finishing their degree. Seeing as several students are required to have hands-on experience, one of the majors that has been impacted the most are student teachers.
“In the spring semester when things shut down due to [COVID-19] part of my coursework included 40 hours of observation and things schools shut down,” senior art education major, Erica Wheeler said.
Initially when the pandemic hit, the observation hours that student teachers are required to have were minimized from 40 hours to 30 hours.
“Not getting to experience face-to-face interactive observations was unfortunate because it really helps prepare you for your clinical teaching,’ Wheeler said.
As students have come back to class in the Fall, they are required to follow a number of different guidelines in order to stay safe and social distance, the same goes for teachers.
“Teaching has just been different from what it would normally be or at least what I have heard that it would normally be. We had to transition from in-person to online, and then to both online and in-person. Also wearing a mask is hard to use in the music world,” senior music education major, Luke Spencer said.
Both students and teachers have had to transition to a new way of learning and teaching over a short period of time.
“The pandemic caused a lot of uncertainty with student teaching. There has been cancelled music contests and delayed practices and rehearsals which just caused a lot of problems,” Spencer said.
COVID-19 has created a number of different types of obstacles for student teachers as they work towards completing their degree.
“The biggest impact the spring semester had on me was the closing of all of the Pearson testing centers. I still had a test to take and pass for my certification that had to be passed before I could be eligible to student teach this semester,” senior interdisciplinary studies major, Mary Rumley said.
Despite the changes in how both students and teachers attend classes, several teachers are taking the necessary steps to keep both them and their students safe.
“In a school classroom with 20 students and 2 teachers, social distancing is hard. But we try our best. My and my student’s safety and health is one of my highest priorities this semester,” Rumley said.
The transition from learning in a classroom to teaching in a classroom can be difficult. Doing it during a pandemic has proved to be even more challenging. However, based on the experiences and perspectives of some of the students teachers attending WTAMU, it can certainly be done.
“I just want to send teachers and students of any grade level my best wishes right now. I am first hand seeing how challenging this year is for everyone involved. I have a newfound appreciation for all teachers after getting a glimpse into the life of a teacher,” Rumley said.