Career Path Internship Program Provides Teaching Support for Local Schools
March 13, 2015
When junior elementary education major Emilee Schetzle first stepped into the classroom as a tutor three semesters ago, she was a bit uncomfortable.
Today, however, she walks in with confidence, and it has made a difference in the lives and learning of the students she works with at Greenacres Elementary School in Pocatello. Schetzle works at the school through the Career Path Internship program, and tutors students in small groups in math and reading. The experience has been rewarding as well as educational, she said.
“I remember once, we were working really hard on some math problems, and they didn’t understand,” she said. “There was one moment when they all got it. It reminded me why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.”
Schetzle is one of 30 tutors who are placed in more than 20 elementary and secondary schools and after-school programs in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls and Fort Hall through the Career Path Internship program. Together, the tutors offered public school districts more than 4,800 hours of assistance in the classroom during the 2013-2014 academic year, and the program has grown during the 2014-2015 year. With as many as 30 students in each classroom, the number of children helped is tremendous, coordinator and assistant lecturer Emma Wood said. In end-of-the-year surveys, teachers praised the program as a way to provide a vital extra set of hands in the classroom, and as a way to help the CPI students learn what a classroom is like before they are given one of their own.
“The exposure to the classroom is huge,” Wood said. “It gives them an opportunity, in a sheltered way, to explore opportunities in the classroom before they are put in a classroom on their own.”
Although most CPI tutors are education majors, Wood said that many, especially those tutoring in secondary schools, are from other disciplines. These tutors can serve as content experts for the students they tutor, and in turn, can learn the joys that come from teaching others. For these tutors, Wood said, the program can serve as a teacher recruitment tool. She hopes that with the experience, tutors in majors such as math will consider teaching, helping alleviate a nationwide teacher shortage.
“It gives them a chance to get into a school environment, and have that exposure to teaching,” she said.
For Schetzle, the classroom experience has been priceless. When she begins her student teaching internship next year, she will already have valuable experience planning lessons, dealing with classroom behavior issues, and working with students of all abilities.
“Now I know how to handle certain situations I didn’t know how to handle before,” she said. “Now I can walk into a classroom and feel comfortable. I can just walk in and be ready to work.”