Source: Action in Teacher Education, Volume 35, Issue 5-6, 2013, p. 323-334.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examines student teacher’s perceptions of the causes and levels of stress during the student teaching practicum for students in the Concurrent Bachelor of Education Program at Laurentian University.
The participants were thirty-three students who participated during three practicums over an 11-week period.
The study consisted of five questions posted using WebCT.
Each week of the practicums, student teachers provided feedback on what aspects of the practicum were causing stress, their level of stress, their struggles, what made them feel good about their week, and the areas they felt they needed help with.
As students self-reported on their experiences of stress during the practicum, this study is primarily phenomenological in methodology.
The findings were surprising and indicated that although stress was being experienced by students in the professional year, they were coping well.
The students indicated a moderate to low level of stress during their practicums.
Lesson planning was identified as the greatest cause of stress for student teachers because of its time-consuming nature.
Participants indicated that because lesson planning took so much of their time, it began to interfere with their sleep.
Some students saw a relationship between the time-consuming nature of lesson planning, the lack of sleep, and becoming sick.
Concerns about classroom management peaked during Week 2 but continued to be mentioned in Week 11.
In the prepracticum experiences, students were required to assist a teacher, whereas in the Initial Practicum, they taught for only 30 minutes a day.
The author argues that the prepracticum experiences of these student teachers may have lessened the stress levels reported during the practicum.
It appears that gradual introduction to the responsibilities of a teacher may have resulted in lower levels of stress for these student teachers.
The structure of the prepracticum and practicum appears to support student learning and result in lower levels of stress for student teachers in the professional year.
Stress during teaching practicum is diminished as a result of the early and varied experiences a concurrent program offers.