Educational Technicians in Maine have the unique opportunity to complete their student teaching right in the classrooms where they are already working thanks to a new program provided by the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
The new K-8 Student Teaching Opportunity for Qualifying, Employed Educational Technicians, offered by UMPI’s College of Education, received approval from the Maine Department of Education’s Certification Division last semester, and six candidates already have taken advantage of the opportunity—one in Aroostook County, and five more in central, southern and western Maine.
“There are many pre-service teachers who, for a variety of reasons, still need their student teaching experience in order to complete a Bachelor’s degree or gain Maine teacher certification,” Jack Stewart, UMPI Director of Student Teaching and Field Experience, explained. “Many of them work as Educational Technicians in public school classrooms and are unable to give up their jobs in order to follow the traditional path of student teaching. Some are the sole support of their families, while others may be the only providers of health insurance. They already know and can do many of the things that student teachers are first learning to do. In recognition of the fact that the nature of an Educational Technician’s work provides a great deal of relevant experience working with students, an understanding of the culture and climate of a school, and an ability to work in collaboration with teachers and other educators, we now offer student teaching for this unique population.”
To be eligible for this opportunity, candidates need to meet several conditions. They must:
- have no more than two educational methods courses left to complete at the time of application (registration for these courses should have been completed);
- have passed Praxis I & II (possibly PLT) testing requirements;
- have successfully completed fingerprinting and criminal history background check;
- be currently employed by a public school or state approved private school;
- work full-time as an Educational Technician in a single setting/classroom under the supervision of the certified teacher for that classroom;
- work in a classroom in the same grade span and endorsement area as that covered by the certification being sought by the candidate; and
- have a minimum CGPA of 2.5 and a GPA in education courses of 2.5 or better.
In order for the student teaching placement to happen, the mentoring classroom teacher must be willing to provide support in required student teaching activities, including the willingness and ability to switch roles with the Educational Technician for teaching lessons leading up to and including a minimum of two full weeks of teaching responsibility. In addition, the school must be willing to accommodate a 75-day student teaching experience.
Stewart said the candidates who have taken advantage of this opportunity so far have done so with the enthusiastic support of their district administrators and the respective classroom teachers serving as their mentors.
“The staff at the University of Maine at Presque Isle is privileged to provide this opportunity that enables more Maine citizens to achieve their career goals in a way that has the least impact possible on their current employment situation and family needs,” Stewart said. “Previously, these ed techs have had to resign their jobs, in many cases, to return to the same classroom to do their practicum with the same teacher, with no guarantees of employment when they finished. We look forward to helping many other Educational Technicians complete their student teaching through this exciting new program.”
For more information or application materials, contact Stewart at 207-768-9430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.