For the last 25 years, the School of Education has offered aspiring inclusive education teachers a unique opportunity to hone their skills as student teachers in New York City through the Bridge to the City program.
Bridge to the City is an immersive, semester-long experience where student teachers are placed in partner schools in urban neighborhoods to learn under the watchful eye of cooperating teachers.
Tom Bull, Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of Field Relations in the School of Education, directs the Bridge to the City program, while Abby Horton ’19, a Bridge to the City alumna, landed her job teaching kindergarten and first grade at Midtown West School, thanks in large part to her experiences with Bridge to the City.
With podcast host John Boccacino, Bull and Horton discuss the program, how it helps train and prepare the next generation of inclusive education teachers, the valuable role the School of Education and Syracuse University have played in their lives, and more!
“They throw you right in [to the classroom],” says Horton, recalling her student teaching in Bridge to the City. “I definitely remember feeling like, ‘Oh wow, I’m kinda like one of the adults in the room right now. I think the curriculum, the projects that the schools do are what really stood out for me. I remember the first school that I student taught at they were raising trout to release on a camping trip! I remember thinking, this is really hands-on stuff.”
“I got to do more than I was expecting to be able to do,” continues Horton. “I think the educators were really open to trying new things and open to handing their classroom over a little bit and sharing it. So I really got to feel like one of the educators in the room and not so much just an assistant teacher. I remember feeling really empowered and excited to be there.”
Because School of Education teacher preparation students spend so much time in classrooms as students, says Bull, “By the time they get to their student teaching they have quite a bit of experience working with a wide range of students, so they are really capable of jumping in and really contributing from day one. The thing that we hear from the schools is that they want Syracuse University students because they are so well-prepared.”