The Importance of Teaching Internships
Teacher internships are a critical step in becoming a certified teacher or changing careers. Interns work under the guidance of a lead teacher to help prepare materials, assist with teaching and provide ongoing feedback.
Be sure to ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to be a “bother.” Most experienced teachers enjoy sharing their expertise.
What are the benefits of an internship?
Teachers are a highly coveted commodity and, as such, many school districts have a strong desire to hire interns. However, there are times when district requests to host teacher interns cannot be honored. This can be due to a number of reasons and has nothing to do with the intentions of either the intern or the school.
Internships give students the chance to put their coursework into a real-world context, and to network with people in their field. They also allow them to gain skills that may not be taught in class – and which can be useful in other career paths, too.
Hofstra University offers an internship pathway for candidates who have completed successful long-term lead teaching experience and are offered a position by their district to continue their classroom work in the spring term. Candidates selected for this opportunity will be paid a stipend by their district to complete the spring term internship. They will still receive ongoing support from their university coach and cooperating teacher.
What are the requirements for an internship?
Teachers seeking certification must complete a teaching internship before being recommended for licensure. This semester-long student teaching experience consists of classroom observation, classroom teaching, and the preparation of materials and lessons.
A teaching intern will typically be paired with an experienced cooperating teacher in a school that is relevant to their field of study. Interns will learn from the expertise and guidance of their mentor, while gaining a hands-on, practical perspective on how to teach.
During their time at their assigned schools, teachers will be required to attend weekly seminars pre-scheduled by their program coordinator. They will also be expected to complete a student teaching portfolio, and meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their experiences and receive feedback.
Once a teacher intern has demonstrated enough poise and confidence to lead classes independently, their master teacher will permit them to take the lead for a lesson they have prepared. Over time, the teacher intern will gradually increase the number of classes they teach on their own.
What are the benefits of a practicum?
A practicum offers the chance to put classroom theory into practice. It allows you to understand the connection between theory and practical experience, which will help you in future job interviews. A practicum is also a great way to get a foot in the door and start working immediately.
During a practicum, you will work with a variety of people who have years of experience in the field. This will give you a unique perspective that you won’t get in the classroom, which can help you advance your career faster.
You will also gain valuable teaching skills that you can take with you after graduation. It is important to make the most of your practicum so that you can walk away feeling confident about your abilities. You will also have the opportunity to network with a wide range of people, which can help you find future employment opportunities or even become a mentor in the field.
What are the requirements for a non-teaching internship?
An internship is more intensive than a practicum. It usually takes place later in a student’s program, and the responsibilities it requires are more substantial. A teacher intern, for example, would design curricula and present lessons to students, while a medical intern would evaluate multiple patients.
A teaching internship requires that the teacher candidate be enrolled in the appropriate student teaching/graduate practicum course, have a minimum of a 3.7 cumulative grade point average, and obtain two letters of recommendation from faculty who can talk about her knowledge, skills and dispositions towards teaching. She must also attend all reflective seminars, have a student teaching/graduate practicum orientation and meet with her advisor at least once during the duration of her internship.
After the completion of her internship, a teacher intern will return to campus for a seminar. This is an opportunity to discuss her experiences and for her to complete licensure applications. She will also be able to speak with the Director of Clinical Experience, Licensure and Accountability or her university supervisors about any concerns she might have.