By Judith Anne Purdy, Senior early education major and disabilities studies minor
If you ask any education major at Saint Vincent, they’ll tell you that our program is one of the best. And this is so true; from the very start of your program you are presented with so many opportunities to visit schools and gain field experience. It’s common at other colleges to gain your first school experience in your senior year when you begin student teaching, entering into teaching with your blinders on.
Luckily, at SVC your first experience in a school happens your freshman year, in Field I. In Field I you and your classmates all pile into a big van, driven by your professor, and visit a variety of schools for the semester. After Field I your field experience does not stop; in fact, it becomes a required addition to your class time and assignments. This is great, but there’s a catch. In order to complete these required components, you have to find extra time in your schedule, and you must provide your own form of transportation. Thinking back to your freshman and even sophomore year, how many of you had a car? Many would say they didn’t. If you’ve ever taken a theology class with a required Service-Learning aspect, transportation is provided if you cannot provide your own.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for Field Experience. And unlike Service-Learning, Field Experience is required in multiple classes. There are even Third Space classes, which take place at an off-campus location. A location in which you are required to be at and are required to transport yourself to. Thankfully carpool groups exist, but if the class is required and must take place off campus, then shouldn’t transportation be offered as well?
In the spring of your senior year, it is typical to begin full-time student teaching, which is preceded by part-time pre-student teaching in the fall. Student teaching is the education student’s version of an internship. Unpaid internships are unfortunately very popular. Normally, when college students are presented with an unpaid position, they take on jobs and extra shifts to save money for their daily expenses. Yet from the very moment the idea of student teaching is mentioned, we are immediately told we are not permitted to hold a job during that semester. It is explained to us that teaching is a full-time job; thus, your student teaching should be treated as such. All in addition to seminar coursework, preparing for interviews, studying for certification tests (which cost hundreds of dollars). How do these happen while not holding any sort of job? How much does your student debt increase when you pretend an unpaid internship is a full-time job with a salary and benefits?
Additionally, considering the quality of our education program and the amount of time that the program has been offered at SVC, you might expect to find all of the education professors’ offices in one central location. Other programs offered at our school have offices in the same building, and even our athletic offices can be found along the same hallway. However, the education offices can be found in the “ed office” and the “ed hallway”; coincidentally these are not in the same building. Our “ed office” can be found next to the library while the “ed hallway” is found on the second floor of Carey. The program has been around for so long and provides so many youth community programs such as the Step-Up program, Challenge Camp, and SVC Wraps to name just a few. It only seems right to have all of our advisors and professors together in a shared location where they could consistently and easily collaborate to maintain the effective and intense program we have today—not to mention the poor freshmen education students who are getting lost looking for the ed office and hallway.
Opinions expressed by outside contributors do not necessarily represent the views of The Review or any of its employees.