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Internships

Members of the Literacy Specialist Program learn not only from university courses but also from field experiences, and above all from the intersection of these two. Course work becomes vastly more complex and interesting when it is brought to bear on the real challenges in classrooms. Every student in the Literacy Specialist Program is expected to work in a classroom or two as a teacher-researcher and reflective practitioner. Students complete internships in classrooms across New York City and its neighboring boroughs. Interns log 10-12 hours of literacy-related instruction per week, typically two and half to three hours a day, four days per week.

Fieldwork assignments vary based on the graduate student’s prior experience and wishes. A graduate student who has a full-time position teaching in a nearby school may use his or her own classroom as a lab site to try out new learning. A graduate student who comes to New York from another part of the world may ask for help securing a teaching position or an assistant-teaching position, and in this instance, too, the fieldwork becomes part of that person’s full-time job.

Most graduate students, however, come to Teachers College for full-time study, during which they experience two different placements—one in the fall and one in the spring. One placement may be in a classroom and the other may be as an apprentice with a member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff or with a literacy coach. Alternatively, the placements may be in two classrooms at different grade levels.

Always, graduate students are placed in schools that are deeply involved in literacy reform. Through these placements, students have the opportunity to observe and learn from a mentor teacher who is experienced in workshop teaching, as well as to practice and engage in instruction alongside this person. Students are assigned a supervisor who visits them in their placements and provides support and feedback. Finally, students also participate in the ongoing staff development that occurs in the school. Many end up being deluged with job offers from the schools connected to the program



I graduated from the Literacy Specialist Program several years ago and I am aware every day of how the program has opened doors for me. I learned from teachers who had extensive knowledge of child development and education and who challenged me to take the work of teaching reading and writing from multiple perspectives. I also was fortunate to connect with a mentor at TCRWP who strengthened my skills as a teacher and learner, and to work with members of the Project to conduct research and write lessons for the Units of Study. Now I am teaching at one of NYC’s greatest public schools, and remain connected to the institution and people from the program, as I am surrounded by other teachers who have also learned from TC and TCRWP. All of these experiences and connections have helped me become a more reflective, critical and effective teacher, and have come my way as a result of the Literacy Specialist Program.
Jasmine Junsay, Fourth Grade Teacher at PS 29, Brooklyn