ROCK SPRINGS, February 10, 2020 — The University of Wyoming College of Education spring 2020 cohort of student-teacher candidates has begun the transition from student to professional, as the students start their 16-week student-teaching experience. UW student teachers were placed in more than 100 schools in 25 districts throughout Wyoming and in the Denver area.
Student teaching is one of the last stops preservice teachers make on their journey to becoming professional educators. Although UW students participate in classroom experiences as early as their sophomore year and have had opportunities to lead a “digital classroom” using Mursion virtual reality software, this is the first chance many have to completely lead a real classroom.
“Student-teaching experiences allow preservice teachers authentic, real-world applications of previous coursework,” says Andrea Burrows, associate director for field placements and associate professor in the College of Education. “Although UW supports preservice teachers with practicum experiences as well as coursework before student teaching, the student-teaching experience is immersive and provides a chance to plan, implement and assess classroom activities using their prior knowledge.”
Student teachers are expected to apply what they have learned in their UW coursework and during practicum experiences as they fully assume the responsibilities of a classroom teacher. They are paired with seasoned mentor teachers who share and showcase effective classroom management techniques and support the students as they prepare and present lessons. The mentors also coach the student teachers in order to improve their abilities.
“Student teachers can expect success and failure in student teaching. When things go well, the student teacher should consider why it went well and how it happened. When things don’t go as planned, the student teacher should consider why it didn’t work and how it could be improved,” Burrows says. “Failure is OK, as long as learning is a part of the iterative process of becoming a more effective teacher.”
“I am excited to work with my amazing students and mentor,” says elementary education major Kali Gonzales, of Laramie, who is student teaching in a kindergarten class at the UW Lab School. “I want to learn everything I can from my mentor and students and become the best teacher I can be.”
“I’m most excited to put all of my studies and hard work to practice and be a part of my students’ lives,” says elementary education major Alexandra Whitley, of Fort Collins, Colo., who is student teaching in a third grade class at Beitel Elementary School in Laramie.
— Green River: Amanda Carson, secondary education biology, science and math, UW Lab School, Albany County School District 1; and Ezequiel Zarate-Garcia, elementary education, fifth grade, Pilot Butte Elementary School, Sweetwater County School District 1, Rock Springs.
— Rock Springs: Braxton Rosette, secondary education social studies, social studies, Laramie High School, Albany County School District 1; and Kaylee Tuttle, secondary education mathematics, mathematics, Green River High School, Sweetwater County School District 2.