It's that time again. Thousands of eager, energetic and engaged student teachers from SFU, UBC and UVic teaching programs have descended on schools across the province. This year, Churchill Secondary has gotten its fair share of student teachers from SFU. In fact, Churchill is one of the few schools in the province to boast a teaching cohort of ten student teachers.
The first day was a whirlwind experience as the new cohort got a tour of the school, were introduced to the timetable and teaching and school staff. The new teachers say they were impressed by Churchill's unique programs like its Ideal Mini-School and ARC program, its wide range of facilities, the friendliness of the teaching staff and the vibrancy of the student community. Many noted the size of the school was both imposing and intimidating - with a school population that rivals interior towns like Princeton, it's easy to see what they're talking about.
Many noted the lifesaver in the experience was John Hunter, one of Churchill's Vice-Principals. They say Hunter's patience and support has significantly aided in the transition from SFU to secondary school classrooms.
The majority of their three week visit has been spent in observation mode, but the student teachers note the grooviest part of the process really allows them to "choose their own adventure." Student teachers are free to wander from class to class to explore the most innovative learning environments in the school that they can find.
It's an exciting but also a nervous time for many of these young teachers. Standing out and (eventually) finding a job are always key considerations for any newcomers to a career. It's no different for this cohort. Everyone's heard the stories of how tricky it can be to find work. Many are already looking northwards to get their foot in the door after they finish their practicum. Others are committed to making a go of it in Vancouver or other Metro Vancouver municipalities.
The students are set to be placed in Churchill for three weeks and then will head back up Burnaby Mountain to SFU for more instruction. Later in the year they'll be back, first for an additional three weeks and then for several months after the Winter Break.