Future Teachers Get Experience In Urban Tulsa Classrooms

Monday, September 23rd 2013, 6:40 pm

Some future teachers were in the classroom Monday, focused on how to teach in an urban setting. For some, it was an eye-opening lesson.

Everyone who wants to teach spends some time in a classroom as an intern. Northeastern State University has taken that a step further with an urban education program, spread through Tulsa Public Schools.

The 3rd graders at Anderson Elementary learn to read and write through new methods with proven success. A teacher leads the class while, in the back, three student teachers from NSU watch to see what works.

"I feel like I can be a teacher, but I don't know how to handle every situation yet, so I like to see how she does it and see how the kids respond to that," said NSU education student Maddy Ramsey.

Ramsey is a college junior in the program. She'll spend 14 Mondays at Anderson, one of Tulsa's most racially mixed and historically challenged schools.

The principal likes the program that helps student teachers learn more about what they'll be actually doing in a classroom.

"Some of them love it and some discover this is not for them, and so I think it helps them make decisions about their career as well," said Principal Tracy Thompson.

The program to put NSU education students into urban classrooms was created by Allyson Watson, who realized the misconceptions of what people thought about big city schools in low income neighborhoods.

"Many of them have no clue. They just know they have a heart to give back. They want to serve the community, and be where students really need the best, most effective teachers," Watson said.

Watson said nine out of 10 student teachers in the program go on to take jobs in urban schools and are ready for the challenge.

Ramsey believes she's going to be ready.

"This really shows how to teach it and how it's going to work in an actual classroom," Ramsey said.

There are 87 student teachers in the program right now, scattered across the school district. They'll be in the classroom 67 hours this semester.