Pilot program underway to train student teachers for full year

Pilot program underway to train student teachers for full year

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There is a pilot program underway in East Baton Rouge that could change how teachers are trained to something similar to doctors.

Doctors spend years after graduation working in hospitals under the supervision of other doctors. Teachers, on the other hand, get one semester working in a classroom.

One student, Emily France, is getting a chance to learn through the pilot program. Emily is currently learning under Amy Stewart while she teaches.

"I was here from the very first day that faculty reported, and I'll be here till the last week of school," France said.

While most student teachers spend a few days a week for one semester in the classroom, France gets to experience the whole year, and it's not just helping with lessons. France writes and teaches lessons, and navigates the pitfalls of a new teacher under the supervision of a mentor teacher.

"You almost want to cry every day your first year, because you didn't realize," Stewart said. "Nobody ever told me it was going to be like this."

The hope is that what student teachers learn in the program will lead to better teaching that first year.

"I've learned to think of my students and what they need, and write lessons based on that," France said.

It also gets more resources to the classroom, and that is something every teacher wants.

"As a teacher, you want to be everywhere all the time, and you just can't," Stewart said.

That extra teacher means more one-on-one attention for students. Having France for the whole year means the children in the class are the real winners.

"I don't feel like next year will be my first year teaching," France said.

This is the first year of the nearly $5 million pilot program, but if it goes as expected, there could be changes to the requirements for teacher certification.

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