Internships provide valuable experience and training to participating students. This experience is particularly important to students preparing to become teachers since upon graduation, most of these students will be sent into classrooms to educate the youth of America.
Specifically, Auburn University students in the College of Education must gain this experience to graduate. In their last semester, each student is required to complete a full-time internship in a local school. The interns are sent into the schools to assist teachers and eventually teach several lessons.
Though leaving the lecture hall to work in a classroom may seem intimidating, many students understand how beneficial this preparation is and look forward to the challenge.
Rachel Anderson, a senior in math education, is in the fourth week of her internship at Drake Middle School in Auburn.
“I love it,” said Anderson. “It’s so exciting to finally be in the classroom with the kids on a daily basis.”
But interns do more than sit in classrooms. In the Internship Handbook, the dean of the College of Education Betty Lou Whitford describes the work and welcomes students to this next phase of their education:
“For the next few months, you will immerse yourself in a school setting and the life of a teacher as you continue working toward the goals outlined in the College’s conceptual framework--developing as a competent, committed, and reflective professional.”
The handbook outlines the requirements of the programs and the expectations of the interns. Some of these responsibilities include creating lesson plans, attending faculty and parent/teacher meetings, grading work and submitting daily reflections on their experiences in the classroom.
Interns are also required to take on the responsibilities of the teacher in the classroom for 20 full days, including at least ten consecutive days.
While planning and preparing are necessary to a successful teaching career, some of the most important lessons are learned from interacting with the students in the classroom.
“Learning about teaching students is really different from actually going into the classroom and teaching the students,” said Anderson. “It was kind of intimidating at first, but now I’m getting used to it.”
And getting used to teaching is the overall goal for the interns. Ideally, students will have a better understanding of their responsibilities in the classroom and more confidence in their ability to teach.
“It’s been really eye-opening so far, but in a good way” said Anderson. “My internship has made me so excited to have my own classroom and my own students.”