True partnership means REAL communication

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A recent article in Education Week offers concrete suggestions on how to provide the best possible learning experience for student teachers. The person standing up to voice the recommendations? A current teacher.
As a former mentor teacher, many of these recommendations ring true from my own experience, particularly the last recommendation—create true partnerships with cooperating teachers. Last spring, I hosted a student intern in my own classroom. Like Henchey, I felt I stumbled along my own path of mentorship, with limited guidance from my student's university. Both of our experiences are examples of the disarray that both NCTQ and NCATE found.
Better communication would have made my intern's experience more valuable. For example, several times I provided my intern feedback only to realize she had not yet been exposed to a knowledge or skill I was expecting of her. More knowledge about her program would have allowed me to align my support to build on her current learning. At the end of the semester, I realized I was supposed to have also completed a formative, mid-term evaluation. The result? I completed both the mid-term and final evaluation within a week of each other. What valuable development did my intern miss out on due to the lack of communication between her program and me?
It's time for an open a dialogue with ed schools so that we can work on concrete, practical suggestions for how to improve the quality of student teaching experiences. I am confident we are not the only teachers out there who have ideas on how to improve teacher education. Add your voice to the conversation and let us know what you think.

Katie Moyer