Ohio Valley University’s School of Education has admitted its first group of student teachers to a year-long residency that replaces the student teaching semester. These residents are Taylor Braun, Ashley Holbert, Katie Rittenhouse, and Marisa Sumption.
In educator preparation programs, one semester of student teaching has been the traditional capstone activity before graduation, certification, and the first year of teaching. One semester is not enough time for preservice teachers to become skilled, confident, and learner-ready. Cooperating teachers who host our student teachers have stated repeatedly that educator preparation should include an additional semester, to provide sufficient experience and mentoring. In the beginning years of teaching, many teachers move to different careers for various reasons. According to the National Center for Teacher Residencies, extended clinical time and experience tend to increase retention of teachers and decrease teacher turnover.
In Fall 2019, four OVU preservice teachers or ‘residents’ are piloting a year-long residency, while additional preservice teachers are doing their traditional student teaching semester, with many thanks to Wood County Schools.
Our residency structure keeps the students’ programs to eight semesters. In the first residency semester, the ‘residents’ may take up to 16 credit hours of professional education courses. The residents are assigned to placements in local schools, where they work on Monday-Thursday through the semester. On Fridays, they are on the OVU campus working on learning outcomes from their courses with three of our faculty members, Carolyn Sturm, Kim Wile, and Jo Pennington. With foundational work in the professional education courses completed together on Fridays, residents complete most of the courses’ applications on the job, working with their students in the Preschool-12th grade schools.
A year-long residency will strengthen our preservice teachers’ rate of learning because they are in the schools applying learning theories and strategies immediately after they work with them in an OVU course. Cooperating teachers and residents collaborate in planning and implementing the semester's learning outcomes, activities, and assessments. OVU faculty members will spend some time in the schools assisting and supervising residents.
In this structure, the second semester’s work is an enhanced version of traditional student teaching. Because many OVU preservice teachers are athletes, they cannot do their residency semesters in their more-active seasons. Their programs of study enable them to complete the first residency semester, take regular courses for a semester during their sports’ seasons, and then complete the second residency semester before graduating.