For Pre-Service Teachers: The Eight Goals Every Field Experience Should Achieve
Finally stepping into a classroom is one of the most exciting parts of teacher educator programs. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! You are there, among students, watching lessons and tests and presentations unfold before you.
However, field experiences are not just about actions and answers. They’re about questions and introspection, too. Field experiences are an integral part of teacher education programs because these experiences prepare prospective teachers for the real world of teaching and help them ascertain whether they are truly called to the profession. Field experiences enable student teachers to identify which subject they enjoy teaching and the age group of students they’re comfortable teaching.
Field experiences, like all of your teacher education program, are about learning – the students’ learning, yes, but your learning, too. Read on to find out what your eight goals for field experiences should be, and what kinds of questions you need to ask to help you achieve those goals.
Goal 1: Assists potential teachers in determining the ages/ grades that they would like to work with.
Quite simply – where do you feel most comfortable? Where do you feel like you’re best applying your skills? Where do you find it most exciting and satisfying to work?
Goal 2: Helps potential teachers decide if they have been “called to teach.”
It’s normal for prospective teachers to feel a little nervous and stressed during their field experiences – but is that all you feel? Are you getting any enjoyment or satisfaction out of your fieldwork? Is teaching really what you thought it would be for you? Do you want to continue?
Goal 3: Allows potential teachers to apply what they learned in the classroom to the real world of teaching.
What of your education can you move from page to practical? What methods can you now put into practice? What have you learned that you can apply now?
Goal 4: Assists potential teachers in gaining valuable practical knowledge and other critical skills.
What new skills can you learn? What areas of growth are you noticing for yourself? What don’t you know yet? What new knowledge can you incorporate into your education?
Goal 5: Helps potential teachers obtain valuable insight into the teaching and learning process, pupils, and parents.
What does real-time learning look like? How are parents involved? How do students interact with the teacher? How do students interact with each other?
Goal 6: Allows potential teachers to hone their skills under the tutelage of professionals.
What feedback have you gotten from your on-site mentor? What aspects of your mentor’s method do you most appreciate? What advice can you ask for from your mentor?
Goal 7: Assists potential teachers in obtaining invaluable knowledge about school culture.
How do teachers interact with each other? With administrators? What does the flow of bureaucracy look like?
Goal 8: Gives potential teachers a first-hand account of what teachers do on a day-to-day basis.
What’s actually on your to-do list while you’re working in the classroom? What’s on your mentor’s to-do list? What do you find yourself thinking about at the end of the day? What kind of planning do you find yourself doing?
Field experiences are invaluable components of your teaching education. They are what will take your teaching abilities beyond theory and test questions. Fieldwork is the time for skills and application and action. Keep the eight goals for field experiences in mind to make the most of your time on-site!