Distance Learning Affects Future Teachers
Karyn Gomez, the Associate Professor of Education, professor in the Undergraduate Elementary Education Program and the Masters in Science Online Program, is working every day to make sure student teachers and teacher candidates will both be on track to get their teaching license and graduate. Gomez collaborates with her fellow faculty members in the education department to make sure that students meet the requirements at each step of the program. Her and the rest of education staff work together to maintain consistency across the multiple sites when making adjustments during this time that schools are shut down.
Changes have been made to work around the restrictions that have come with COVID-19. Teachers cannot teach in a classroom at this time. This creates a problem for future teachers working towards their license. Teacher preparation programs revolve around face to face teaching along with the necessary requirements to receive a teaching license. Adjustments start with the student teachers, students currently in their second year of the EOU Undergraduate Elementary Education Program, and then the teacher candidates, students currently in their first year of the program. Student teachers and teacher candidates are working with their mentor teacher, the teacher that mentors them in the elementary classroom, to construct packets for students to retain and learn information.
The first-year students will now have a Zoom meeting, an online meeting through webcams on students’ and teachers’ computers, once a week for each of the EOU on-campus classes they would have had. In a normal face to face class setting on campus, the students would meet with their professors three times a week for multiple hours. Now, it is a total of 3 hours of classes on Zoom a week. They will have the same number of assignments as before classes went online. As for their time in the elementary classroom, they will be replacing that by seeing video examples of other teachers teaching in the classroom and analyzing their techniques, IRIS Modules (online resource to help teachers) on different aspects of teaching, and being able to help their mentor teachers (teachers they work alongside in the classroom) virtually.
There is no substitution for teaching in a face-to-face classroom. The teacher candidates and student teachers will be working on learning and refining knowledge and skills that they can use in their future classroom. Student teachers are working alongside their mentor teachers to present their students with packets at home and activities to do for retention of information learned in the classroom. In order to meet the requirements for their teaching license, the student teachers will be videotaping lessons that they would have taught to their students and send them to be reviewed by their supervisors, watching videos of teachers teaching and analyzing their techniques, reflecting on their own teaching, and other online work to better the students’ teaching skills.
Gomez can see many benefits in distance learning, online learning from a distance. Student teachers and teacher candidates will be able to work on skills that normally take a backseat, online resources, clearer instructions, communication with parents and videoing their teaching
Something Karyn Gomez wanted to let others know is that during this time extra patience is needed for individuals and teachers. Many people including children are very stressed and overwhelmed with the many changes. Take this time to be a little more giving and have a little more understanding for others in their physical, emotional, and mental state.