GSEAP Internship Positions on the Rise
This fall, a record 48 interns have found positions in local schools, with over half of that number in Bridgeport thanks to a partnership with the Bridgeport Public Schools that was formalized last year. That partnership opened up 26 internship positions to GSEAP students in the current school year.
Students in the internship programs earn money in the form of a stipend of $15,000 that is deposited in their Fairfield University accounts. They draw on those funds for payment of graduate school tuition, which helps to defray a significant portion of their graduate school tuition.
The recently implemented, five-year B.A./M.A. program for elementary, secondary, and TESOL majors enabling these students in their fifth year of graduate school to acquire their teacher certification has also contributed to the growing number of interns and has greatly enhanced the internship program.
“Prior to the five-year program, regular graduate students interned in their first year and were not able to student teach when interning,” said Dr. Joseph Ricciotti, director of the internship program. “All that has changed with the addition of the five-year program, as we have re-designed the program to allow interns to student teach as part of their internship experience. Likewise, regular graduate students extending their internship for a second year may also do their student teaching. It’s a significant change.”
Dr. Ricciotti continued. “The internships in Bridgeport come with a different job description than in year’s past. Instead of simply substituting for teachers in the classroom, interns assigned to the Bridgeport Public Schools will be working alongside experienced teachers in their discipline. Hence, they’ll receive feedback and mentoring from these teachers throughout the school year which will enhance the learning experience of the internship.”
Interns must also attend scheduled seminars, led by Dr. Ricciotti or Professor Deborah Farber, that focuses on issues related to the internship experience as well as seminars that will focus on preparing them in becoming skillful, competent teachers. “Graduate students extending their internship for a second year can earn up to $30,000 in tuition credits which will include student teaching in their second year, making their degree basically free,” added Dr. Ricciotti. Just as important, “they’ve gained experience, and if they do their internship and student teaching in the same school, the transition is very smooth and can also serve as a stepping stone to a full-time teaching position.”