Sorensen, T. J., Lawver, R. G., Hopkins, N., Jensen, B., Dutton, C., & Warnick, B. K. (2018). Preservice agriculture teachers’ development during the early phase of student teaching. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(4), 105-119. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.04105
The student teaching practicum experience is designed to give preservice teachers practical experience with teaching and is an important step in their development. While literature in agricultural education exists about preservice teacher professional development, little is known about the developmental process of agriculture teachers during the student teaching experience. Utilizing the theory of teacher concerns (Fuller & Brown, 1975) as a theoretical lens, the purpose of this qualitative document analysis was to determine how preservice teachers develop over the first half of the student teaching practicum by examining the way they talk about concerns. Written reflections of five different cohorts from 2010 through 2014 were analyzed at two different points in time (week two and week seven). During the first two weeks of student teaching, three themes emerged, including: 1) teacher/student identity crisis, 2) teaching competence: “I do not know how, what, or who…,” and 3) adjusting to change. During week seven, the concerns changed, which indicated the student teachers were developing into the professional role of a teacher. The three themes that emerged from the data for week seven were: 1) building professional relationships, 2) engaging students, and 3) it is about time: work-life balance. Implications exist for teacher educators to place more emphasis on teaching strategies to engage and motivate students in the learning process, rather than just the task itself. Recommendations are suggested for teacher educators to discuss with preservice teachers before student teaching the realities and challenges of balancing work and life roles.