For most of each semester, for a little over a year, I have spent every Friday in a 6th grade classroom. I miss teaching children & I greatly value the opportunity to work with these students, but my main focus while in this classroom is my own students (preservice teachers). My students accompany me to this classroom (all 40 of them this semester) so they can work with the 6th graders as they learn to teach science.
I spend the entire day in the 6th grade room on Fridays, but my students come in for one period of the day. On average, there are 6 of my students in each class period of the 6th grade science class we visit. During class, my students interact with the sixth graders & get to see a great teacher in action. Later in the semester, the preservice teachers start planning their own lessons & delivering them to small groups of 6th grade students.
My role during these times has been to model instruction, draw my students attention to particular aspects of instruction, & provide feedback to my students about their instruction. My students get to see me teach 6th graders & I get to see them teach 6th graders. “Powerful” does not begin to describe the resulting interactions.
So, to those who say schools of education are “out of touch”, to those who think teacher education can be done in 6 weeks, and to those who think a methods course can be done online, I invite you to join me on Fridays.