Walkout could impact student teachers

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The teacher walkout planned for Monday could cause Cameron University student teachers to miss time teaching in the classroom before they graduate in May.

Lawton Public Schools hasn't announced whether or not they're walking out, but if they do, the walkout could cause student teachers not to have valuable time in front of students. Senior Alexis Marsh said student teachers at Cameron spend 13 weeks in the classroom during their final semester working with a teacher to get a perspective of what it's like.

"Just so we know what to expect when we're actually there doing it. It's not like we just jump in our first year of teaching and don't know what to do. We actually get to have hands-on experiences and observe."

Marsh said she's supposed to start teaching instead of observing at Crosby Park on Tuesday but doesn't know if that's going to happen. However, she said it shouldn't be much of an issue because her student teaching time is split.

"We have two placements so I did it at my last placement where I got that experience so I feel more confident this time and for the future because I did have that experience since we did have two placements this time," Marsh said.

Dr. Jennifer Dennis, the Chair of Education Department, said they require 13 weeks in the classroom while the Office of Educational Quality Accountability only requires 12 weeks. If the walkout lasts less than a week the student teachers at Cameron won't be impacted but if it last longer than a week, they could go back to campus for the time being.

"Well, we could have leniency from OEQA, which is the agency I mentioned earlier and we could also require them to do extra activities on campus," Dr. Dennis said.

Marsh is anxious to see what happens because she hopes to get a job teaching in Lawton when she graduates so she says she's been keeping a close eye on what's happening.

"It will be affecting me next year and the years to come," Marsh said. "I'm hoping for the best for everybody...students first of course but the district, the whole state of Oklahoma and it just continues the whole nation. Teachers and students deserve the funding. They need it."

Dr. Dennis said she doesn't think the potential walkout will have an impact on graduation and they're going to make sure the students get to complete their degrees in a timely manner.

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