About The Internship
Support is Our GoalThe support you receive in your internship will help you develop "productive habits of practice." You will be supported in your internship by your field instructor, mentor teacher, and the Secondary Teacher Preparation Program Staff at the College of Education. One of the primary goals of our program is to develop a partnership between practicing teachers and teacher educators, working toward making meaningful connections between classroom field work and university coursework. We believe that people do not learn from experience alone, but through experience in combination with careful preparation, good mentoring, discussions with colleagues, and well-designed courses. Therefore, we seek to develop sustained connections among teacher candidates, MSU staff, and practicing teachers.
Stages of the Internship YearThe year-long internship is organized into several stages that represent different types of experiences and different types of support that will be needed to guide the intern's professional learning across the year.
Stage 1: Co-teaching in the Focus Class
Selecting the Focus Class helps to initially define the role the intern will play in the classroom. In the Focus Class, the intern and mentor teacher begin by working together, discussing the interns specific observations and questions, and then move as soon as possible to co-planning and co-teaching, with the intern taking the lead as it becomes appropriate. It is a class in which the intern begins to accept prominent responsibility sooner than other classes. The intern should maintain consistent involvement in the Focus Class throughout the year and keep all lesson plans, activities, observations notes, and any other documentation related to the class in the Focus Class Binder.
Selecting the Focus Class is a negotiated decision between the intern and mentor teacher, and may be understood in a variety of ways. Regardless of how the class is defined, two important ideas should guide the approach to the Focus Class:
It is a class that initiates the intern into teaching and therefore mentoring and feedback from the mentor teacher are essential as the intern assumes increasing responsibility and begins building autonomy.
It is not a class where the intern accepts full teaching responsibility from the beginning of the year, but moves toward it gradually.
Stage 2: Guided Lead Teaching I and II
During the fall term there are two periods of guided lead teaching with a period for reflection and preparation in between. During these guided lead teaching periods, the intern should move into a lead teaching role in at least one class in addition to the focus class. These experiences allow interns to “get their feet wet” for manageable periods, helping them to raise new questions about teaching and what they need to learn, and taking some of the mystery and pressure off the spring lead teaching experience. Interns need considerable support to prepare for the first guided teaching period, and hopefully somewhat less for the second. The mentor teacher and field instructor should talk through the planning with the intern, helping to think about the details of implementation and to anticipate potential difficulties or opportunities that might arise in teaching. The mentor teacher can also support the intern in the classroom by helping to monitor discipline. As the intern becomes more confident in teaching, the mentor teacher can phase out this kind of support. The mentor teacher can observe and offer suggestions on areas that the intern is working on. After the first guided lead teaching experience, the intern has time to reflect on it, think about what needs to be worked on, and plan for the second period. After the second guided lead teaching period, planning for the spring lead teaching period should begin. During the fall guided lead teaching periods, issues such as the intern's openness to learning, serious attention to what the program standards mean and what their enactment entails, active pursuit of guidance and feedback, and evidence of steady progress are critically important.
Stage 3: Lead Teaching
During the ten-week spring lead-teaching period, interns are responsible for a substantial portion of the mentor teacher's duties. The field instructor, mentor teacher, and intern will negotiate a sequence of responsibilities for lead teaching that matches the intern's capabilities and provides opportunities for learning. Lead teaching is not simply immersion in a full load of teaching responsibilities. Interns should be planning more carefully, keeping better records of their planning and teaching, consulting with their mentors and field instructors more extensively, and learning more thoughtfully than is normally possible for beginning teachers carrying a full load. Typically, interns will teach one less period than the typical load for a full-time teacher at their placement school, and will teach no more than two different preparations as part of that load. It is often wise for an intern who will teach three different preparations during the lead teaching period to teach only three class periods.
During lead teaching, interns need support and feedback from field instructors and mentor teachers. This support and feedback differs from what they needed during fall semester. Observations, evaluations and feedback should center on the intern's understanding of and performance related to the program standards and on issues of autonomy.
Lead teaching also provides interns with an experience similar but not identical to full time teaching. This is a time when the intern has the opportunity to experiment with various styles of teaching and assessment. It also contributes to the development of the intern's autonomy as a teacher. The intern's performance during lead teaching significantly contributes to the Exit Performance Description.
Lead teaching includes the following components:
A negotiated relationship
Lead teaching is another phase in the working relationship among the intern, mentor teacher and field instructor. Like the other phases of the internship, lead teaching is most likely to succeed if the intern, mentor teacher and field instructor discuss specifically how to go about it. Refer to the Teacher Preparation Program Standards as a means of setting goals for lead teaching.
The intern will be expected to design coherent sequences of lessons that achieve large goals over periods of days or weeks. Prior to the lead teaching period, the intern should take the initiative and primary responsibility to plan the units that will be taught in the lead teaching period. Interns should always provide unit plans in advance to their mentors and field instructors, with sufficient time for their mentors and field instructors to provide feedback that can be used in refining the plans prior to teaching.
In lesson planning, the intern learns to design purposeful and practical activities that carry a unit forward. She or he learns to anticipate and adapt to situations that might arise in those activities, to use time efficiently and to allow for the unexpected. Again, the mentor teacher and field instructor offer support, feedback and coaching.
Other school activities
During the spring, the intern should play a stronger role in events such as parent conferences and staff meetings about students than in the fall. On these occasions, it will be important for the mentor teacher to provide support and guidance. Interns are also encouraged to participate in the culture of their school by attending student activities such as sports events, performances and other extracurricular events.
Documentation and reflection
Although the seminar courses do not meet for a long stretch in the middle of lead teaching, most interns will have some responsibility for documenting their students' learning and reflecting on their teaching. These assignments will help them learn to teach more thoughtfully and develop their teaching portfolios.
Stage 4: The April Transition PeriodDuring April, after lead teaching is completed, the TE 803 and 804 seminars continue to meet, and attendance remains mandatory. Interns will continue to teach in their focus class but will need to spend increased time on completing the requirements of their coursework. Interns are encouraged to schedule visits to other classes and schools during this time. TE 803 and/or TE 804 course instructors may have requirements for these kinds of experiences and may help interns with planning for this work. Interns should work out schedules with their mentors and field instructors that allow them time to visit other schools and work on projects related to their coursework and their upcoming job search. When nothing else is required, they should be in their regular schools and following the schedule they typically follow during the co-planning and co-teaching times.
Each should develop a written plan for when he or she will be in school and in other places. The plan should be signed by the mentor and field instructor and kept in the focus class binder. TE 803 and/or TE 804 instructors may also require interns to submit a copy of the schedule in class.
- Job Fairs. Interns should be free to attend the MSU teacher job fair or other teacher job fairs as is appropriate for their employment goals. The MSU teacher job fair date can be found in the intern year calendar.
- Convocation. All interns and their mentors are invited to attend our Secondary Intern Convocation on the last day of the internship.