My friends who know much more than I do about the nitty-gritty of teacher education say that the student teaching experience is critical. One thing districts could do more of is to provide well-mentored, student teaching opportunities and then go after the student teachers who looked particularly good as potential recruits.
A new paper, “A Foot in the Door,” explores the link between student teaching assignments and placements into first teaching jobs. The authors look at 8,000+ student teachers from six schools in Washington State.
- 40% of first placements were into the same district as the student teaching. (15% into the same building.)
- First placements are typically near the student teacher’s home, as measured by high school. But the location of the student teaching experience was more important than location of the student’s high school.
- Student teaching opportunities tend to be in better performing districts than are first placements.
It would be interesting to know if these same patterns show up in other states. Unfortunately, most states don’t make available the kind of data needed to do this kind of research.