For students in the teacher training program at UW-Parkside, student teaching is a different deal than it was in the past.
Long gone are the days in which students sit around in K-through-12 classrooms observing and taking notes before getting thrown into the lion’s den while the full-timer steps out of the room for an extended coffee break.
A concept called co-teaching has taken hold in Parkside’s recently-revamped teacher education program, now called the “Institute of Professional Educator Development.”
Teachers, retirees and community members got an update on the five year-old program at the Wingspread Conference Center Thursday evening. The presentation included a testimonial from Melissa Wemmert, one of the Institute’s first graduates who’s spending the current semester as a long-term sub at Case High School--and loving it.
She’s a strong believer in the co-teaching concept, saying without it she would not have been as good. "I think I would definitely have lacked the confidence I have now and the ability to plan lessons and units cohesively."
In addressing the Wingspread audience, Wemmert got emotional when discussing the support she received from her co-teacher, a seven-year teaching veteran.
Parkside’s new teacher education program graduated its first cohort last year with five students, including Melissa. This past weekend ten students received diplomas. 54 students are currently enrolled in the program.
Some of the discussion at Wingspread centered on the much-publicized teacher shortage.