by Yosselin Nunez

The concept of paid internships is almost unheard-of for most students, but thanks to a valuable partnership between the College of Education at the University of West Georgia and Fulton County Schools, future educators now have the chance to hone their teaching skills and receive an income.

Teacher helping students at a deskWanda Calhoun, director of the Office of Field Experiences in COE, said the internship is the perfect opportunity for prospective teachers to understand the classroom setting through hands-on experience – all while being financially supported.

“The total immersion gives them real-world experience that hopefully lends itself to a richer clinical experience,” said Calhoun. “Our students know from the onset what the expectations are and being able to experience the behind-the-scenes world of teaching makes the experience feel like they are already employed and valued.”

The program – through which UWG students have so far received more than $18,000 in disbursements – has been offered for a year. Throughout the school year, interns teach lessons with periodical formal observations by teachers and a university supervisor.

COE students find the internship program allows them to get a head start in their career and be introduced to different possibilities for employment post-graduation. They are learning, progressing in their career and earning an income.

“The internship has been great financially as I have been able to save extra money needed GACE content areas to my certification in order to be a better candidate for hire,” said Jennifer Prosbo, a graduate student in the UWG Master of Art in Teaching program.

Fulton County’s partnership with COE has also been transformative in the way internships are conducted in public school systems. They are preparing current students and future educators and leaders of the community with the innovative program.

“I feel more ready and experienced for my own classroom as I have received a full 360-degree view of teaching as a career over the course of this school year,” expressed Prosbo, who looks forward to an employment position at Fulton County for the 2019-20 academic year.

Students interested in pursuing this opportunity must apply on the Fulton County School District website. The application requires a resume, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and an essay. Once the intern is selected for the program, they are required to complete various tasks like attending “Match Day,” which allows the student to meet their cooperating teacher.

Photography by Steven Broome

Posted on June 18, 2019