Friday, January 25, 2013

Creating Community during Student Teaching

When I survived my student teaching experience in 1998, I remember it was a very lonely experience with little support from my supervisor or my cooperating teacher, who on the day I entered her class handed me the text and the ancillary materials and said, "The poetry unit starts tomorrow. If you need me I will be in the teacher's workroom."

Fast forward 15 years, and now as a University Supervisor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, I have the privilege to work with student teachers and shape their teaching beliefs, practices, and experiences. The first priority was not to make their experience in anyway like mine. My goal with every student teacher is to make them feel as they are still connected to the University, but more importantly to expand their experience into a community at practice.
Community of Practice

Now in my 4th semester, I feel I am getting closer and closer to this community at practice. I have done this by using one of the first online file sharing programs - A new account affords 5GB of free online storage. But as an early integrator, they afforded me 50GB of online storage of files.  This community consists of teachers, professors, student teachers, and former student teachers new in the job market. I created the file structure and opened it to anyone interested in sharing resources. Of course I uploaded much of the content, but as time progresses, more and more are uploading their own resources. Within the file we can hold discussions on topics or files or pose questions to the group as a whole. Currently  over 43 collaborators have access to the resources. While most are in Pennsylvania, the news has reached New Mexico, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Below is the embedded file. I encourage you to join or simply visit. Feel free to upload your own resources or comment on the resources listed. Enjoy.

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