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Student teachers struggle to make up required hours

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By Holly Cardoza

Public school cancellations in the South Shore area have delayed Stonehill Education students from completing the
300 state required classroom hours they need for the program.

The Education building serves a central part of campus for education students.

The Education building serves a central part of campus for education students.

Senior education students must complete their 300 classroom hours over the semester as part of the state requirement but there have been an average of four to eight snow days in the schools, leaving them short.

“All of the lessons plans that I had planned to do on a particular day had to either be readjusted or completely thrown out because we have to keep moving forward with the pacing of our content,” senior student teacher Kathleen Jastrzebski said.

Another Education student, sophomore Mikayla Siedentopf, is trying to complete her Pre-Practicum hours which require two hours in an inclusion classroom and three hours in a general kindergarten classroom.

“I’ve missed four of my general kindergarten classroom days,” Siedentopf said.

“I haven’t been able to work with the children in this type of setting enough to be able to write my papers for class.”

“I’m worried that I am still going to have to catch up on my work  that isn’t my fault for missing,” she said .

“Nobody has seen this in a lot of years,” Kathleen McNamara, Education Department chair and director of licensure, placement and supervision said.

Many of the public schools where Stonehill students are placed have not decided how they are going to make up the snow days, and Stonehill has not decided how their student teachers are going to make up their days either.

“Some systems are talking Saturdays, some systems are talking April. We’re in conversations with schools, but nobody has made final decisions,” McNamara said.

One idea discussed is having student teachers remain in classrooms through finals week, an unpopular idea with the student teachers.

“As a senior, it would be nice to have finals week off, but now this may not be the case. It’s not ideal, but I’ll just have to adapt to it. It’s just one extra week,” Jastrzebski said.

Students said education professors are doing their best to help the student teachers.

“The professors have been really understanding. There is not enough time to do everything we accomplished,” Siedentopf said.

Jastrzebski is still hopeful she will fulfill her hours requirement.

“It will happen somehow. The department recognizes this dilemma,” she said.

“I’m confident the ‘ed’ department will know shortly how to fix this problem.” Student teachers meet with their professors weekly for seminars and that’s where they now share concerns.

“We have a seminar class and we met last week because everybody was not in school. We addressed them in the things they had been missing,” McNamara said. “Being a classroom teacher is a large test of flexibility. That’s what this is.”

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