With a decline of teachers across the country, an online internship program allows beginning teachers to get their teaching certificate while teaching full sized classes.
The program is through Rio Salado and prior to getting into the internship program, you need to have passed a subject matter exam, have your SEI (Structured English Immersion) course completed, an AZ Fingerprint Clearance Card, and a job offer from a school.
At San Luis High school Ximena Ortega an economics teacher and Jorge Sanchez a math teacher, are both enrolled in the program where they teach during the day then complete courses and homework online at night. They say the online program is difficult but it is to prepare them to teach.
These teachers follow the same steps as traditional teachers but a difference between the two is traditional teachers have to complete one year of student teaching before graduating. Those who go through the online program start their first day of classes with little to no experience.
There has been worry in the community if this new wave of teachers are prepared to teach over sized class rooms and the teachers themselves admitted that the first day was difficult. “It was hard, I was sweating that first day,” said Sanchez However after the first couple of weeks they said it became easier, “eventually I started seeing what it was like to be in front of the class and I started gaining confidence.”
San Luis High school’s Head Principal Tom Safranek says the only difference between teachers is how they earned their teachers certificate. “Whenever we walk through the classroom, it’s not like there is a constant reminder that these people are following an alternative path,” said Safranek. “They are quality individuals and they are quality teachers.”