Yesterday a young man who graduated from our school system started his three-week winter break internship in the classroom.
The children were delighted because for many this young man is also their beloved summer camp counselor.
In addition, men are a minority in our elementary school, and children were very happy to have a male teacher.
The fact that this student teacher graduated from our school system provided him with a lot of familiarity about the school culture too.
For me, a set of extra hands is always a welcome gift. It means that I can offer the students more teacher support and choice. For example, I could offer an indoor-outdoor recess choice because one of us could supervise outside while the other stayed in. During math, several children chose to work with the student teacher while I worked with the others. I could also allow more students to eat in the classroom rather than the cafeteria since one of us could supervise the room while the other picked up the students in the cafeteria. More hands meant more choice, and more choice meant more happiness and support for students.
The supervising college program seemed to set this student teacher up well for the internship.The principal received a well-written letter from the intern two months ago. Then yesterday, bright and early, the student teacher was there on time eager to help out with a professional, student-friendly attitude. Later that day I received a nice note from the college supervisor outlining the internship and providing needed reference information should I need to call or understand the internship details better.
Today, the intern will continue to help as needed, and he will also begin managing our "Star Classroom" effort--that's a school-wide effort to emphasize community respect and good behavior.
College and pre-service internship programs have tremendous potential with regard to student service and apprenticeship. I'm delighted to have the opportunity to host students from local universities and colleges regularly. I learn a lot, the student teachers learn a lot, and most importantly our students gain from the increased support and mentoring.