William Jewell College Department of Education students will complete 40 hours of field work per semester in a variety of classroom settings.
In order to prepare for their future careers as teachers, the students in William Jewell’s Education Department gain in-class room experience through field work. Students must complete 40 hours per semester in a primary or secondary classroom. Throughout their time at Jewell, students will complete field work in urban, suburban and rural locations.
During field work, a student spends time in a classroom under the guidance and supervision of a cooperating teacher. At first, they may observe and help the teacher with lessons. Eventually, as they become more comfortable in the classroom, students will teach lessons on their own. The lessons generally correspond with what the students are learning in their education classes at the time.
Shannon Brady, sophomore and elementary education major, said lesson planning is the most time consuming part of field work.
“If I’m teaching a lesson, I have to have that lesson plan prepared, make sure I have all my materials, and I go over the plan again to make sure I know what I’m doing,” said Brady.
Abby Rowan, sophomore and elementary education major, said that when they are not teaching lessons, students may have to work with small groups or individual students in the classroom, or help the cooperating teacher with whatever tasks he or she needs completed in a given day.
“Just as my cooperating teacher becomes a resource for me, I become a resource for her,” said Rowan.
Mr. Robert Stoll, an education instructor and field work director, said that this relationship with the cooperating teacher is key to field work. He maintains that it not only helps the student do
well in the classroom setting, but it preserves Jewell’s relationship with schools so that it may continue to give students the opportunity to work in the classroom.
“We have a good relationship with schools in the area. Schools like working with us because our students have a lot of experience in the classroom and they know how schools work,” said Stoll.
Jewell’s education program maintains that is more rigorous than other schools where field work is concerned. They report that most schools do not require as many hours or offer as many opportunities for student to be in the classroom before student teaching.
“We want them to have as great of an experience as possible, and that’s only possible in the classroom,” Stoll said.
Students agree that this experience has helped prepare them for their teaching careers.
“Fieldwork has given me so much time in the classroom. Observing alone helps to prepare for teaching, but when you are able to jump in and learn hands on through providing support for students and teaching small groups, and then eventually a full lesson, you get a good taste of what teaching will be like,” Rowan said.
Brady shared this sentiment.
“Being in the classroom…gives you a feel for what your career is like, and can really determine whether or not this field is for you,” Brady said. “I feel like I’m a step ahead of the game when it comes to student teaching.”