Participating in a PDS offers you the following experiences:
- Full-year internship
- Total immersion in the school culture
- Diverse learner characteristics and school cultures
- Intensive and extensive clinical experience
- Substantive linkages between course content and practice
- Opportunities for practice, reflection, and collegiality
- On-site coursework (teacher candidate and staff development)
- Involvement in school–community relationships
- Cohort experience
- Recognition by prospective employers
- Promotion of best practices
- More confident teachers
- Mentor programs
What do recent interns have to say about the program?
Ten PDS interns sat together near the end of their internship year and generated the following list of benefits of the yearlong experience:
- Employment statistics for PDS grads are positive.
- Research shows that PDS grads are more likely to stay in education as a career.
- The PDS Program is an effective way to get a job in a "good school district of choice."
- More people are applying for teaching jobs in Illinois each year so it helps to have a competitive edge.
- Interns take classes on site in the school district and directly apply their knowledge in the classrooms. They have a lot of time with students.
- The program provides mock job interviews, and mentors give good advice leading to successful job searches.
- The program provides more "complete takeover" time in the classroom than other types of student teaching.
- It is as though interns have already had a whole year of teaching by the time they graduate.
- Mentors, both from Illinois State University and in the classrooms, are always willing to help.
- Leaving campus your senior year is not a problem because you make a new group of friends and build bonds with people who will be your professional peers for years down the road.
- Everything interns learned in their college classes comes into play during the internship and they can see right away how it works with their students.
- Interns get to know the school district and the community much better than in traditional student teaching.
- "You can get a perfect grade in everything but that won't help you unless you get to spend a lot of time in the classroom."