A juggling act in the classroom

The teacher shortage has compelled secondary school administrators to seek alternative ways of staffing CTE classrooms. Increasing enrollments of K–12 students, an 8% annual attrition of teachers from all disciplines leaving the field, and declining enrollments in teacher education programs mean fewer qualified teachers to fill vacancies. So school districts may hire a teacher with a bachelor’s degree through provisional licensing. In other cases, teacher preparation programs regularly get calls to hire candidates before they have completed student teaching. These unique situations provide rich opportunities for research.

CTE student teachers teaching full time participated in a research study to examine their experiences.

In the fall of 2021, three faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) began a yearlong study. They wanted to learn about the supports that may be beneficial to student-teacher success. In addition, the findings can inform program review and design of clinical placements in these full-time teaching scenarios.

The study, which took place during 2021–22, included all 17 student teachers who were employed in full-time teaching positions. A short, researcher-developed online survey asked phase one participants to share how they learned about the position, why they chose this option, their classroom and other nonteaching responsibilities, and their demographic information. The survey also asked respondents if they wanted to participate in phase two, a follow-up interview with one of the researchers. A researcher-developed interview guide provided a consistent set of questions that focused on support, challenges and advice for others considering this role.

Interview results indicated a variety of supports that the student teachers found helpful. And from those findings, the researchers developed the following strategies.

TECHNIQUES_ February 2023_ Juggling act

Read more in Techniques in February 2023.