U teacher education preps students and graduates for teaching online
By Paul Gabrielsen
On Friday, March 13, 2020, U student Abi Marshall ate lunch at her desk at Taylorsville High School while keeping one eye on Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s Facebook page. Just days away from completing her student teaching, Marshall had planned a surprise for her students the next week before handing the class back over to her mentor teacher. By the end of that day, though, Utah public schools statewide were closed as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was heartbroken,” she says.
Marshall and the other teacher candidates in her cohort ended their student teaching experience in unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances, while recent graduates from the U’s teacher licensure program have drawn on their preparation in the rapid pivot to online teaching. The impact of the training received through the College of Education’s K-12 licensure program, they say, has been significant as online teaching and learning has become the new normal.
“The work that teachers do every day is all about the love and passion that they feel for each of their many students,” says career-line associate professor Udita Gupta of the U’s Urban Institute of Teacher Education (UITE). “Things are even harder for teachers in the time we are in. Still, teachers are making all possible efforts every day to reach out to their students to teach and to just know if they are doing fine.”