As I began my 6th year of teaching Special Education at BFA-Fairfax, I was also preparing to take on an additional role as an administrator in training at both BFA Fairfax and Franklin West Supervisory Union. After completing the required coursework for a Master’s in Educational Leadership at UVM, there was one last task to complete. Part of the new state requirements for graduates of Educational Leadership programs requires a full year internship to become a licensed administrator.
Internships provide foundations for careers and are investments towards future goals. With an emphasis firmly on training, internships provide students with real-life experiences within the workplace and field they hope to break into. This not only helps them gain critical work skills and decide if the career they are experiencing is right for them, it also enables them to make valuable work contacts and acts as an important stepping-stone to securing a job and climbing the first rung on the career ladder. Administrative internships provide teaching, learning, and experience to help build strong, competent, and capable leaders while building their resumes.
Working closely with administrators allows me to gain experience and knowledge to the inner workings of the administrative world and to become acquainted with the legal processes and regulations according to the Agency of Education.
I have been fortunate to work this year as a 9th grade Core Special Educator while completing my administrative internship. As with any internship, there have been challenges but also tremendous benefits. I have learned through experiences such as: attending supervisory union administrative team meetings, attending board meetings, Act 46 meetings, working collaboratively with administrators on various committees, shadowing, working with students to redesign the handbook, and co-facilitating a student leadership team. All of these experiences will help lay the foundation for a future career as an administrator.
While interning has its benefits, it also comes with some challenges. Finding time to collaborate with administrators at times has been difficult due to the nature of their job. As a Special Educator, I am well versed in flexibility, determination, and perseverance. At times, experiences needed to reach my goal of completing my internship needed to take a back seat in order to fulfill my job duties as a teacher first. My primary role is teaching — the needs of my students must also be at the forefront of my heart and mind. This is where good time management and flexibility is paramount.
As I myself engage in an internship, I am working with colleagues and students alike to provide opportunities for students to experience careers of interest by “interning” at businesses within Franklin and Chittenden Counties. As we continue to move towards a Proficiency Based Learning system with Flexible Pathways, it is essential to provide students opportunities to experience a multitude of different career paths.
Today’s FWSU STORY was contributed by Danielle Kicsak, a Special Educator in FWSU who is also completing her internship for a Master’s in Educational Leadership.