Posted by cservaes on June 19, 2012 in "Academic Programs", "Current Students", "distance teaching", "Dodge City", "Kansas City", "School of Education", "student teaching"
Cyndy Torres knew she wanted to return to Dodge City at some point in her life. It’s where she grew up. It’s where her family lives. So when the Ottawa University-Kansas City education student was presented with the opportunity to do her student teaching in Dodge City, she jumped at the idea. “I wanted to student teach to get a better understanding and knowledge base for the district that I would potentially be teaching in,” says Torres, who graduated in May.
Typically education students do their student teaching in classrooms near their campus location, but Torres, along with Raleigh Cain, who is doing her student teaching in Denver, Colorado, and 2011 graduate Rachelle Sloan, who did her student teaching in Houston, Texas, have proven that OU student teachers can be effective even when being overseen from a distance. Associate Professor of Education Dr. Amy Hogan served as Torres’s OU evaluator, traveling to observe her in the classroom on two occasions. Her cooperating teacher also supervised her performance, and Torres kept reflective contact notes that were reviewed by a university supervisor. Reflective action courses were another tool used to assess the experience and performance under Hogan’s guidance. “The distance experience has been quite rewarding for the student teacher and their classmates,” said Hogan. “Through open reflection about how school districts operate, we learn about the different approaches to teaching our diverse world.” During the course of her student teaching, Torres says she faced some challenges. “My biggest challenge was classroom management,” says Torres. “I felt that it was tough to come into a classroom in the middle of the year where procedures had been established and try to follow the expectations and routines.” But Torres adjusted well and used many different teaching strategies to finally find a management plan that worked. “This experience has taught me so much about teaching, classroom management and myself personally and what kind of educator I want to be,” says Torres. She acknowledges that her education from Ottawa University prepared her for the challenges that awaited her when student teaching. “I felt I was prepared with different strategies for situations that may happen in the classroom.” Following her student teaching, Torres was offered a teaching position at the same elementary school. “I am excited to teach 4th grade and be in the building where I did my student teaching,” says Torres. “This was a positive experience for me, and I have gained so much more than I ever would have thought. This has been a long road, but one I have waited an extremely long time to take. The experience and knowledge I have obtained is limitless, and I can’t wait to start the journey as a new educator next year.”