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  • By Alyssa L. Brennan

What education majors should expect this fall: online internships are an option

With new restrictions in place for schools due to COVID-19, the Spadoni College of Education has made some adjustments to accommodate students who are amid their internships.

“We wanted to make sure that students had relevant and meaningful experiences while still meeting the State Department of Education licensure requirements,” said the Dean of Spadoni College, Edward Jadallah, Ph.D.

The South Carolina Department of Education posted a statement describing their efforts to navigate the pandemic while safely educating students.

“Planning for a new school year, in even the most normal of circumstances, is challenging enough. Clearly, this SC 2020-2021 school year poses unique challenges and uncontrollable variables that raise questions we have never before needed to answer,” said the SC Department of Education’s website. “School is not going to look the same regardless of what shape and form of in-class or distance learning model is adopted. Contingencies will need to be made.”

Coastal Carolina University’s Director of Student Services, Amanda Darden, gave insight to the modified requirements of Coastasl Carolina University’s interns.

“We have been in very close communications with the State Department of Education and they just developed new policies and procedures that our students are going to follow. So, what it looks like is that they have relaxed the requirements for the students who are in their practicum. They still have to get the hours, but there are alternative options if the student can’t be face-to-face in the classroom,” she said. “They can actually work in small groups within their practicum placements, they can do online, virtual lesson plans if needed, they can also teach lessons to each other in their classes. As far as the internship, students still have to meet all of the state requirements.”

The university’s partnering districts which include six counties, the two largest being Horry and Georgetown, are being flexible with their CCU student interns. If a CCU student has already been assigned a placement and their cooperating teacher ends up going virtual, the student is able to continue working with that teacher in the virtual setting. The student will still have the same requirements including observations, conferences and evaluations, which can all also be done online.

Darden explains that the Spadoni College has been very proactive in working with the State Department of Education and making the necessary adjustments to keep students safe and healthy.

“While we are facing challenging times, I believe the word our college is using at this point in time is ‘structured flexibility.’ We want the students to know we are here to support them and help them move forward so they are still able to get their teaching license,” Darden said. “[Students should know] if they have a specific situation, where they are concerned about being in the classroom face-to-face, we are able to make accommodations and get them a virtual placement for the semester, so they are able to finish their internship and graduate on time.”

Darden gives a piece of advice as students begin to navigate the semester and prepare for their internships.

“The advice I would give is to embrace the journey. I think sometimes students become overwhelmed with change, and we’re definitely in a unique situation right now with COVID-19,” she said. “I think that students just need to take it one day at a time and not stress out over things that they can’t change. But, the things that they can change, I think they should take the opportunity to make those corrections earlier rather than later. Don’t wait until the last minute; be proactive.”

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