Clinical teaching programs help mold America’s future teachers

Programs provide students the opportunity to partner with a teacher to gain real-world experience
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As the wheels begin to roll on the upcoming school year, clinical teachers in higher education campuses across Central Texas are gearing up to put their skills to the test in real classrooms.

As the nation works to fill thousands of empty teaching positions, those studying education in a higher ed program have the opportunity to partner with a teacher and gain real-world experience they can use when they get a classroom of their own.

“Someone to guide them, teach them skills, but also someone they can rely on to get through the challenges, they will stay in the profession much much longer with much more success,” said Jamie Blassingame, the director of Field Experiences & External Partnerships at A&M Central Texas.

Texas A&M Central Texas is one of many schools in the area with education programs that offer clinical teaching for its students.

Formerly student-teacher partnerships, clinical teaching can be an opportunity for a student to hone in on a specific subject, grade level and sometimes find a specific district they like teaching in.

The three-semester old TAMUCT program partners with KilleenISD as well as TempleISD and Copperas CoveISD.

“We are very honored and feel privileged that they’ve decided to be with us and work with us, and we want to do whatever we can for both the student teachers and alternative certified teachers to make this a home for them,” said Tina Cole, Director of Recruitment and Retention with KISD.

Currently, 15 students will work five days a week in the traditional clinical teachings while 30 students will work in the yearlong residency.

A perk to the residency program is the opportunity to serve as substitute teachers on Monday’s and Friday’s, giving the student the chance to have a classroom of their own for a day.

Along with TAMUCT, Baylor’s clinical teaching programs serve schools in the Waco and Midway area.

Baylor students start their journey to clinicals beginning their freshman year and work until they’re placed in a classroom for their junior or senior year.

“Throughout their entire program, what we try to do is make sure they experience a variety of grade levels and a variety of school districts,” said Dr. Rachelle Rogers, clinical professor with Baylor University.

Between their clinicals, Baylor students have the opportunity to change schools, subjects and even districts to find what they most like to do in the classroom.

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