Due to COVID-19, CWU made the decision for all classes to be taught online, and K-12 education is now closed for the rest of the school year. These changes impact education majors, as a lot of them need practicum, or field experience, to get their degrees.
Ian Loverro is the chair of Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership department in CWU’s College of Education and Professional Studies. Loverro wrote in an email that in place of practicum, education students are writing reflections on videos of national board certified teachers in authentic teaching scenarios.
“While it isn’t the same experience as helping out in a classroom, they are quality examples and our students are able to see a variety of teachers and styles, more than they would in person,” Loverro wrote.
He also wrote that student teachers are working online with their mentors and field supervisors, helping with online instruction and preparing for traditional teaching in fall. He wrote that some students are applying for and accepting teaching jobs for fall.
One education student impacted by the switch to online courses is Ainslee Nill, a junior majoring in Elementary Education. She said her main concern regarding switching to online classes and schools being closed is doing practicum and getting the field experience required to get an Elementary Education degree.
Nill said to replace the practicum she would have been doing this quarter, her professor is uploading articles about teaching and videos of teachers in their classrooms and having the students analyze it. She said although her professor has found a stand-in, some people she knows still don’t know what the quarter holds for them.
“I know that a lot of people in my classes this quarter that I’ve talked to still don’t even have their Canvas page accessible for their classes because there’s still just so many unknowns about how we as elementary education majors are going to accomplish these classes during these times,” Nill said.
Nill is also minoring in two different subjects, Philosophy and Teaching English as a Second Language. She said with all the classes she’s taking, it’s important this quarter doesn’t come with any setbacks.
“We are here to learn how to be teachers, and it definitely worries me that I might be held back in being on track with graduating,” Nill said. “I know that Central will eventually work it out, and I’m just trying to be patient.”
Allie Caughie is a senior majoring in English Education. Caughie said the online changes haven’t impacted her as an English Education major, but she knows Elementary Education majors are impacted due to the restrictions regarding practicum.
Caughie also said regardless of major, the switch to courses being completely online can be hard for everyone.
“I’ve taken quite a few online classes and they’re not my favorite, but they’re doable, whereas some people do not function well with online classes,” Caughie said. “I think regardless of the major, it’s going to affect [students] in different ways.”
Caughie said she was planning on student teaching in fall but doesn’t know if that will be happening anymore. Caughie has heard some superintendents of K-12 schools saying they aren’t sure students will return to school in the fall. This would mean she would not be able to student teach.
Caughie said besides classes moving online, she is disappointed she will not be able to participate in commencement, which has been cancelled. She also was a Resident Assistant before COVID-19 restrictions but had to move back home.
“I really enjoyed being able to get together with other education majors and work on lesson plans and stuff like that, so not being able to do that will be complicated,” Caughie said.