'A Teacher's Job Doesn't Only Happen in the Classroom': Preservice Teachers, the Classroom, and the School

May. 14, 2008

Source Action Teacher Education, vol. 30, No 1, Spring 2008

Preservice teachers (PSTs) are expected to enter the profession with a wide and deep understanding of educational excellence. They are asked to become classroom experts, knowledgeable in issues of pedagogy and content, who balance and integrate the educational and emotional needs of students with their own strengths and abilities
They wear many hats in the school, including teacher, curriculum developer, tutor, counselor, evaluator, lunchroom monitor, and colleague, thereby learning what is valued and supported within classroom and school communities.

The teacher education students mirror students in many other teacher education programs: White, female, early twenties, middle class, raised within a 100- mile radius of the college.

Over a 2-year period (2005-2006), 44 PSTs participated in this study (Year 1, n = 24; Year 2, n = 20). All were in their third semester of
the four-semester undergraduate teacher education program and had registered for a six credit Integrated Methods/Field Placement.

All were college seniors, and most were of traditional college age (20-22 years); only four were older than 25 (Year 1, n = 1; Year 2, n = 3). Most students were raised in rural and suburban areas within 100 miles of the college. Females (n = 31) outnumbered males (n = 13). Only three students identified themselves as non-White (African American, n = 2; Hispanic, n = 1), all of whom were in 2006 course.

Journal entries focused on student responses to the activity, including their overall enthusiasm and participation and, specifically, their reactions and responses to the discussions about their use of these words during their secondary school experiences.  As professors of education, we have to ask ourselves how we can best introduce PSTs to the realities, strengths, challenges, and responsibilities of belonging to school-based communities.

Reviewed by the Portal Team

Updated: Dec. 03, 2008