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UL-Lafayette's education students get more real-life teaching experience through one-year residencies at local schools

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Now in her final year of teacher preparation coursework at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Marilyn Hebert has taken several classes on how to teach, classroom management and development of young minds. Yet, armed with all that know-how, there’s only one experience that can prepare her for the classroom — being in it.

Within the walls of J. Wallace James Elementary School in Scott, in kindergarten teacher Becky Cade’s classroom, Hebert spent the fall semester observing and teaching math as part of a new student-teaching program preparing her to return in January to co-teach with Cade. The additional time to get to know the young students and to get comfortable in a classroom setting is designed to better prepare neophyte educators to make the transition from college student to classroom teacher.

“When they’d come in the past, they had no experience. I had some who would turn red talking to students,” Cade said. “This allows the UL student to build more of a relationship with the students. It’s not in isolation anymore. When she returns in January, she’ll spend the entire day with the class.”

The College of Education modified its student-teaching experience this past year with students like Hebert, who visit classrooms part-time to teach and to observe the full-time classroom teacher who will serve as their mentor. Hebert and other graduating seniors will return to the same classrooms for the spring semester to co-teach with their teacher-mentors.

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