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College of Education prepares for semester with student teachers

The College of Education at Pittsburg State University coordinates with a number of departments and major areas of study on campus, as well as local schools to provide practical experience for students before they receive their degrees. The College of Education, like many facets of campus life, is making major changes to better service students both on-campus and going out to teach in schools. 

The College of Education consists of the health, human performance, and recreation department, the psychology and counseling department and the teaching and leadership department. According to the Pitt State website, the college serves over 1,500 majors and their mission is “to prepare competent, committed, caring professionals, provide services to the various communities of which we are a part, and expand the body of knowledge through research and dissemination activities.” 

“We have many courses that are unique,” James Truelove, Dean of the College of Education, told Pitt State Marketing and Communication department. “We want students connected and to be able to complete the hands-on, practical side of our program, but safety is also critical as they’re doing that.” 

Over the summer break, Truelove has met with chairs of various departments and the director of teacher education weekly to coordinate strategies for the fall 2020 semester. 

“We made a commitment last spring that we weren’t going to let the situation negatively impact our students,” Truelove said. “We are striving to innovate, to do things we haven’t done before, and that includes opening up the use of new technologies.” 

The Office of Teacher Education, under the College of Education, is also deploying various strategies to keep student teachers and interns safe and healthy amid their professional semester and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, student teachers will not attend any on-campus seminars to avoid cross contamination with public and private schools. 

“We normally would have them here (the) first day of each month, but we’re not doing that,” Jean Dockers, director of teacher education, told Pitt State Marketing. “We are trying to minimize the amount of exposure to students back here on campus and to each other if they’ve been in different school districts in different counties.” 

According to Dockers, students will have options along with their placement schools to do virtual learning, hybrid learning and in-person learning through the office of teacher education. 

“It’s going to be a wild, unpredictable semester, but I know that I will gain valuable experience from my cooperating teachers and students,” said Taylor Qualls, senior in music education and teacher candidate placed in the Pittsburg USD 250 school district. “I’m super excited to meet my students and learn how to set up a classroom for success. It feels like it has been years since I’ve been in a classroom and I’m so ready to be back. Pittsburg Public Schools have amazing plans in place to keep their students and teachers as safe as possible during this crazy time. New seating arrangements.., computer programs and… teaching methods are all being implemented to protect students and teachers while also trying to provide quality educations to students in-class and online…” 

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