ST CHARLES, Mo. — The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many changes in day-to-day lives, and schools in particular have had to cope with new changes at every level of learning. Schools everywhere have had to rework their systems in order to accommodate new social distancing protocols with many schools switching to online or hybrid classrooms to keep students and faculty safe. For those studying education and working towards their certifications, COVID-19 has changed many aspects of their studies. Some practicums that used to take place in the field have been moved to an online only setting, with students completing their required hours by diligently watching classroom videos complied by the Lindenwood University School of Education faculty. Lindenwood-educated teachers have risen to the challenge and have been continuing their work as developing educators.
Of particular pride to Lindenwood University is the LindenTeach program, which is a partnership between Lindenwood and local PK-12 (Pre-school through 12th grade) school districts that gives students in the School of Education the opportunity to get hands-on experience teaching, preparing them and honing their skills as future educators while also filling a need for substitute teachers. The internship program is designed so that teacher candidates have the opportunity to apply teaching practices and competencies in a real-world setting prior to becoming a professional.
Most, if not all, teachers would agree that real experience is essential to becoming a successful educator, and the LindenTeach program provides the perfect opportunity for Lindenwood students to gain that experience and to help local schools and students in the process.
Several partnered schools and their teachers have reported that they are excited to be involved in LindenTeach and are impressed by the program.
Shelly Doell, an early childhood teacher in the Orchard Farm School District, shared her thoughts on the program, saying: “I've had the opportunity to have two LindenTeach students in my classroom. It has been a very positive and beneficial experience! It enables the student to receive hands-on experience in the field and we get the opportunity to coach and "model" a future educator! I absolutely love that they get to be a part of our classroom and school for two semesters. Additionally, the program enables us to have consistent, reliable, and responsible substitutes. It's a great resource and we look forward to watching LindenTeach students grow into educators at our school.”
LindenTeach students become part of their school’s community and help teachers and students alike during their two semesters in the program. Furthermore, administrators have the chance to get to know teaching candidates before they graduate. The Chief Human Resources Officer at Francis Howell School District, Lisa Simpkins, described the program as, “really a win-win for everyone,” explaining that, “as a district, we are fortunate to have skilled substitute teachers fill a need, while Lindenwood School of Education students gain valuable experience as they prepare for their careers.”
Orchard Farm Middle School’s Assistant Principal, Dr. Michelle Staples, reports: “We have seen nothing but positivity come out of this program. LindenTeach students have the opportunity to gain classroom experience and our students gain an extra teacher to connect with and get support from! I wish this program would have existed when I was in school!” She also called the program an “amazing experience” for both LindenTeach students and the students and faculty they work with.
Learn more at Lindenwood.edu/education.
Anna Ostmann is a junior at Lindenwood University, double-majoring in English and History. She is a writer for The Linden Gold, a student-led digital project aimed at sharing stories of success from the University.
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