Student Voice: Early Education Majors Need Placements

It’s almost halfway through the semester and many early education students are scrambling to get their placements for their fieldwork classes. Some students have been placed, but that was only as of this past week. 

Depending on which fieldwork you’re in, we are being given 10 weeks of four hour days a week to add up to 40 hours. 

Heather Finn, coordinator of the Office of Field Experiences, emailed many education students about this issue. She wrote about how she’s receiving many anxious emails about fieldwork placement.

 “Please do not contact me asking about your placement, as soon as I have them I will send them out,” she actually told students. 

It’s as though she doesn’t care about her students at all. When students visit her in her office she tells them the same thing about how everything will be alright and that they will be placed. It’s the schools that aren’t getting back to her. 

The students are being told that there is plenty of time to complete their hours. As of right now, there should be about twelve weeks left until winter break to complete fieldwork. Does this include Thanksgiving break? Finals week? 

Also, these students are given the bare minimum for experience with children. Once a week for 10 weeks is nothing for someone who wants to spend all day, everyday with children. These students are paying for a class and deserve what they are paying for. 

However, this isn’t many early educators’ first experience with fieldwork. Many students are coming from a community college. All the Dutchess Community College education majors were required to take two levels of fieldwork. 

In their Fieldwork One class, students are in a classroom, learning, until they were placed in a class two weeks from the beginning of the semester. Fieldwork Two they were placed before the first week and started right away so they could transition with the children into the classroom. How can a community college be able to place students faster than a four year school? What resources does this school have that’s allowing them to triumph over SUNY New Paltz?

Personally, I’m in this boat. I keep being told that everything will be okay. But when I went to visit the Office of Fieldwork Experience, the secretary told me that no one was there. It was only 2 p.m. I know it was the Friday before a long break, but there are students not placed, so they should have stayed the required hours. They also tell me that I can stay later at fieldwork once I’m placed or I can do extra days. I can’t do either; I have school every day and I have class at 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday. I’m afraid of getting penalized for their unpreparedness, but who knows? 

As midterms are underway and the 10 week mark has passed, the tension will continue to rise up for students to make it through their requirements without running out of time or interrupting their finals. Is this how we want to treat the future educators of America?