Changing Course: Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion

Credit: Somsuk
Although it has been almost three years since the pandemic forced many departments to change course mid-semester, higher education institutions are still feeling the impact. This article describes lessons my program—the education department at West Chester University of Pennsylvania—learned from creating a contingency plan for 179 student teachers placed in 30 local school districts as these districts closed due to the pandemic. The early middle grades student teaching supervisors and student teaching coordinator created a contingency plan focused on student teaching competencies and based on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidelines for teaching certification. One of the most important considerations was ensuring that the student teachers could earn their certifications from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and graduate in May 2020. Our contingency plan focused on collaboration, creativity, and compassion. While we developed this plan for student teachers in a teacher preparation program, the lessons can be applied to many contexts.

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