Student Teaching not only Prepares but Lands Student Jobs

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Chelsey Van de Merwe, a student who switched her major to Mathematics Education after her LDS mission was hired 3 months after student teaching at Mountain View High School.

Every student in Mathematics Education is required to student teach in the last semester. In Fall 2017, the vast majority of the students who graduated from the program have secured a full-time job.

“For a semester I wanted to do marine biology, but I always loved math. After my mission, I fell in love with teaching, then I came back and decided that I was going to teach math,” said Chelsey.

The BYU Mathematics Education program prepares students with different courses that focus on task design, lesson planning, observation in public school and classroom rehearsal.

In “Mathematics Teaching in the Public Schools” (MTHED 377), students go through the process of designing a lesson and teaching it in front of their peers, then receiving feedback to refine their teaching skills.

“At first it was very intimidating to teach all those people who know how to teach, but because it’s so nerve-wracking, it makes your teaching in a classroom less stressful, and the reflection meeting helped me to recognize my strength in teaching and places that I can improve, “ Chelsey said.

Associate professor Dawn Teuscher co-authored “Situating learning for secondary mathematics preservice teachers within the context of rehearsals: Challenges and resulting adaptations,” which highlights the structural and practical courses BYU Mathematics Education program designed to build a strong teaching foundation for students. The paper was published in October 2017 in the book Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods”.

“In our program, our students are getting much more coursework and mathematics content that relates to the teaching of mathematics, so our courses are run very differently, and most pre-service teachers don’t get this kind of experience in other universities,” said Dr. Teuscher.

“Students learn a lot through multiple teaching opportunities, and the purpose is to allow them to keep refining their skills before they go out into student teaching. So when they are ready to go, they are confident in their ability to teach, but also know that they will continue to learn.

(Click below to find out more about Chelsey’s teaching experience)