Due to the sudden and indefinite closure of all Abilene, ACS and Wylie ISD schools, all student teaching programs have been suspended.
“We miss our students so much,” said Rylee Clinton, senior elementary education major from Fort Worth. “We are so sad that we do not get to finish the semester with them, but trust that this is the best decision to keep everyone safe.”
Gov. Greg Abbott extended school closures through May 4 as part of his executive order, advising people to limit all non-essential social interactions. The decision to suspend student teaching programs was made to keep both AISD and ACU students safe, but it has been disheartening to the ACU student teachers.
“Of course, I was disappointed, but they had no other choice to make,” said Kristy Holcomb, senior elementary education major from Wichita Falls. “As far as online teaching goes, the AISD teachers can handle that well on their own, which meant that we no longer had a placement. My biggest regret was not saying goodbye to my students. I felt lost without that closure.”
Though Clinton said she is disappointed that they will not be able to finish the semester with their students, she said she feels as though the ACU Department of Education has fully prepared her for their futures as teachers.
“As far as teaching goes, we were really looking forward to teaching lessons,” Clinton said. “Watching our kiddos’ minds grow and learning from our mentor teachers, but ACU [Department of Education] has prepared us so well and I’m confident that everyone in the department has had great experience and are going to be awesome teachers.”
According to representatives from the department, as long as student teachers have satisfied the specific criteria provided by the Texas Education Agency, they will still be able to earn their teaching certifications on time.
“I was concerned for many weeks,” said Holcomb. “TEA is in charge of allowing teacher candidates to be certified given that they fulfilled 70 full days of teaching in the classroom. Obviously that was not going to happen, but it seemed as though I was not going to get certified. It was not until recently that the State of Texas decided to reward all student teachers with at least 35 days in the classroom with their certification at graduation. I was really thankful.”