The Role of Student Teaching Expansion and Support
In the spring of 2021, the UW College of Education decided to create a new
position that could act as a point person to prepare and support all those involved
in the student teaching experience. Elizabeth McMahan filled the position as the Director
for Student Teaching Expansion and Support. There are many current and future projects
that Elizabeth is undertaking to support student teachers, mentor teachers, and others
who are involved with the student teaching experience.
Elizabeth’s philosophy in these projects is centered on consistent communication
to enhance the relationship among the stakeholders in the student teaching experience.
This article will discuss three main groups: student teachers, mentor teachers, supervisors.
1) Student Teachers: Student teachers receive support from the time they begin
the application process through the final evaluation of their student teaching experience.
- The student teacher applications have been streamlined to be more accessible and easier
to use for students when considering which districts they would like as their top
- The student teacher candidates now have student teacher/mentor teacher information
nights to field questions before the student teaching experience.
- A common complaint from student teachers is the difficulty in finding affordable
housing. Elizabeth has worked with the College of Education network to receive donated
affordable housing from some of the alumni connections around the state.
- Scholarships also started in the spring of 2021 for student teacher support. In that
first semester, twenty student teachers were awarded $500 each; this year we will
be able to award forty scholarships thanks to the UFund campaign and 2021 Giving Day.
The goal is to be able to continue these scholarships for student teachers for many
years to come.
- The College of Education is streamlining the student exception process so that student
teachers have a more transparent and understandable experience when asking for placement
changes or out-of-state placement approvals.
- They have also created a series of five seminars focused on the process and submission
of their edTPA portfolio, a national assessment, which is a requirement for graduation.
2) Mentor Teachers: Mentor Teachers can expect consistent communication from
Elizabeth throughout the year.
- She has set up office hours each week so that the mentor teachers can call or Zoom
in for any questions answered.
- In addition, she continues to work with the Mentor Teacher Modules team to ensure
that more mentor teachers are aware of the support resources available. Please see
the Mentor Teacher Modules article as well.
- One exciting development is that WY-COLA (Wyoming Coaching Laboratory) will be funding
4 ½ day professional development workshops in Albany County that will be open to any
mentor teacher, expanding on concepts within the mentor teacher modules. Please consider
reaching out to Elizabeth if you would like more information about workshop dates.
3) Supervisors: Elizabeth will be providing office hours for supervisors of student
teachers. Not all supervisors are faculty of the University of Wyoming. Elizabeth
is working to support and ensure they get the complete information even if they are
not located at UW.
One project that just started at the UW Lab School was implementing a year-long
internship program so that student teachers move from the student teaching experience
to a paid teaching experience within the same classroom but is still provided with
a high level of support and professional development. This internship is a pilot program
that has showcased great success, and they are excited to see this program hopefully
increase in terms of intern capacity from two students to four students in the next
year to possibly more schools and even districts in the future. Another potential
project mentioned is developing a district fair wherein student teacher candidates
can learn about the districts within the Partnership in terms of classroom cultures,
school community, and local resources to help them make the sometimes difficult decision
of where they would like to student teach.
If you would like to reach out to Elizabeth McMahan to learn more about some
student teaching developments, please get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also included a handout
developed by Elizabeth sharing information about her office hours and the mentor
teacher modules framework.
A positive student teaching experience can often be the catalyst for a persevering
career in teaching; that is why this work is imperative. Building and sustaining these
strong relationships among our Wyoming educators now is vital for our teachers in