The Return of Geneva’s Teaching Internship Program


Kate Olson, Guest Contributor

After taking a year and a half long break due to Covid and hybrid learning, the Teaching Internship Program has returned to Geneva High School for students.

The Teaching Internship Program allows students to go into classrooms at either the elementary, middle, or high school and be an assistant teacher.  Once they’re in the classroom, students get hands on experience working with other students and being in the classroom.  Each student gets to choose both the grade level and the teacher they work with.

The Teaching Internship Program, previously called Teacher’s Assistant Program and now run by Geneva High School Teacher Sara Consdorf, underwent some big changes during its break.

“We made the course dual credit with Waubonsee Community College,” Consdorf said. “Students earn 3 credit hours that they can take with them to any college they enroll in in the future. Students create a professional portfolio with various assignments, document their classroom hours, and get observed by their GHS teacher using the Danielson evaluation tool. They also have a weekly class with their GHS teacher where they cover such topics as classroom management, observations, teaching techniques, etcetera.”

With a national teaching shortage, the Teaching Internship program is important not only for students, but for society too.

“The whole country is suffering from a teacher shortage – so much so that some teacher prep programs at the college level have shut down or are seeing their enrollment numbers decrease sharply since the pandemic started,” Consdorf said.  “The need to ‘grow your own’ teachers has been gaining traction at the high school level and I am thrilled Geneva HS is part of it. … It’s an excellent opportunity for future teachers to see not only if they want to teach, but also see what level they want to teach.”

For Sophia Acklin, a GHS student, and an intern in Mrs. Anderson’s sixth grade language arts classes at Geneva Middle School North, she has already seen benefits from the Teaching Internship Program.

“I was somewhat hesitant about wanting to become a teacher, even though it’s been my ideal profession for a while,” Acklin said.  “After just the first week [of being a Teacher’s Assistant] I could already imagine myself at the front of the classroom and helping students. It’s a really nice way to slowly become acquainted with what it means to be a teacher. … I feel confident now, going into college, that education is what I want to major in.”

While in Mrs. Anderson’s classroom, Acklin gets real-life, hands-on experience working with middle school students.

“Well, the first week or so I only observed, and learned about the classroom procedures, the students’ names, etcetera,” Acklin said.  “After that, I’ve now started to walk around the class while students are working to help them out with their projects/assignments.  I’ll also be expected to teach a lesson once during the semester and help to design a bulletin board.”

Acklin’s participation in the Teaching Internship Program has also given her more confidence going into college, which is why she highly recommends the Teaching Internship Program to other Geneva High School students.

“I think if you want to be a teacher, this course is a must in order to help prepare yourself for becoming a teacher,” she said.  “This class can definitely help you to decide if teaching is your dream profession or not.”

Nicole Hanna, a first-grade teacher at Williamsburg Elementary School, has also already found benefit in the Teaching Internship Program.  She views her intern as extra support for her students.

“It’s so helpful having another adult in the classroom to help answer questions and encourage students to try things on their own,” Hanna said.

In addition, students who have a Teaching Internship student in their class enjoy getting to work with them.

“They love having you [an intern] in our class and look forward to seeing you each day, especially during writing time,” Hanna said.

The return and revamp of the Teaching Internship Program to Geneva High School has already led to benefits for all those involved, and it’s just getting started.  With a national teacher shortage, the program is more important than ever.  Hopefully, it will inspire Geneva students to pursue education, and become society’s next generation of teachers.