Freshman Teacher Education Experiences
By Susan Schafer, EdD
Baylor University is among the few elite teacher preparation programs with field-based courses beginning in the freshman year. Before their graduation, Baylor students complete more than 1,100 hours in public schools. These early and frequent hours in the classroom lay the foundation for a successful career in education.
Junior-level candidates (teaching associates) at North Waco Elementary describe the positive impact of their early field-based experiences.
“My experience in the freshman course really helped me confirm that teaching is what I want to do,” Jeana Pettit says. “I think it is so important to get field experience early on during college so you can decide if you really want to enter the teaching profession. ”
Kristina Glass notes, “My experience was an important building block in my education. It made me aware of what is expected of me as an educator.”
Amy Ambrose adds that the freshman experience was important to her because “it allowed me to implement instructional practices that I learned in my university classrooms.”
Another benefit of the freshman experience is the exposure to diverse school settings. Ashley Carreker says she gained confidence in her ability to be an effective teacher. “The school became a familiar setting and a comfortable environment [in which] to develop professional skills,” she says.
Kaitlyn McDonald (BSEd ’09) began her teacher education as a Baylor freshman at North Waco Elementary School and is now a first-year Pre-K teacher there. “Because of my last four years of experiences learning to teach by teaching, I do not feel like a first year teacher,” she says.