University of Missouri student teachers trying to stay on track for graduation

Posted at 3:50 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 23:03:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — As schools across the country remain closed, student teachers told 41 Action News they are having to adjust to a new normal.

College of Education students at the University of Missouri are trying to learn what it's like to be a teacher, without being able to step foot into a classroom.

“I spend all my Wednesdays is a 2nd grade classroom at a school in Columbia," Hannah Brown said.

Brown is an elementary education major in her junior year at MU. This semester she would spend in a school, but her experience was cut short.

“It’s definitely sad knowing that I probably don’t get to finish out the year with that specific group of kids and then just a lot of uncertainty with what happens now and what happens going into next year with student teaching everyday," Brown said.

Teaching a classroom full of students is what Maureen Whittaker would also be doing.

“Since I’m a senior, I’m in the school full-time. Right now I would be fully taken over, I would be teaching everything, my host teacher wouldn’t even be in there," Whittaker said.

Full-time student teaching is the final phase of the education program that Whittaker has to complete before graduating in May.

“We’ve been told that we’re still going to graduate, we’re still going to be certified the same, but we’re just going to have some different requirements to meet," Whittaker said.

Teaching 3rd graders online has been a challenge for Whittaker. With COVID-19, students and teachers are trying to adjust to their new schedules.

“It’s hard. I’m learning how to be flexible. I think that’s my biggest takeaway from all of this," Whittaker said. "You have to think on the fly. You have to think of alternative ways to deliver that content to them because they still need it, they still need to be prepared."

MU students are spring break this week, giving the university some time to work everything out.

For education students, the university said they will be able to complete the necessary hours of teaching virtually, keeping them on track to graduate.