My PSEA Login



Starting your teaching career in the midst of a nationwide shutdown


While students and educators have been scrambling to make sense of their new post-COVID-19 realities, what about those stuck in the middle: students making the transition to teaching?

We reached out to four Student PSEA members in their final year, each on the verge of making that monumental leap to the other side of the desk when everything came to a grinding halt. We asked about disruptions to their internships, their coursework, and how the shutdowns have affected their job searches.

Here’s what they had to say.


Madison Canfield – Elementary and Special Education major – Mansfield University

Because of COVID-19, I have not been able to complete expected hours for certain courses, which would have given me great experience and shaped me as an educator.

As of right now, I am able to complete my coursework online as alternative assignments by creating online videos and online activities for students.

It’s really just been a thing where we’ve had to adapt and overcome based on circumstances.

I’ve had to do a bunch of research on my own on how to create online lessons and make them in a way that students could still interact even if they’re not on at the same time as me, which has been extremely difficult. I spent hours on just YouTube researching, trying to find the best way to make it the best for the students.

One thing I used was Nearpod, which I already knew. Then I used a video source called ThingLink. It would allow me to take a video and then I was able to insert questions and the video would pause and give the students time to answer a question out loud or type a question in.

However, I know that some students in that district are not able to access it because of not having the ability to access internet or having a device to be able to watch those things. So, it’s kind of creating a barrier between me connecting with all the students in the way that I would have before.

My plan after graduation was to just teach at a PA school district somewhere. The closures have slowed down my job outlook and making connections with the different districts that I would’ve been going to because I’m not there. I’m not able to communicate with them and get out there and see what job opportunities are in the area. It’s slowed that down quite a bit.

Hunter M. Beane – Elementary and Special Education major – Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus

At the time of the school closures, I had completed nine out of the 12 required student teaching weeks. At the onset of the school closures, I was very nervous about meeting the 12-week student teaching requirement. It was a major relief to hear that Senate Bill 751 was passed, and the 12-week student teaching requirement would be waived.

For the first two weeks of social distancing, my host school did not have a plan for remote learning. Last week, I began meeting with my mentor teacher and the rest of my grade-level team on Google Meet to discuss a plan for remote learning moving forward.

As much as my student teaching placement was disrupted, I am pleased with the quick response of my host school to continue learning for our students remotely.

The pandemic has altered my job search plans by not allowing physical interaction. Due to the social distancing guidelines, I have found ways to remotely connect with school districts and apply for teaching positions.

I have applied to select school district’s employment websites and PAREAP. Currently, there are not many job postings in the region that I wish to work in. I have heard back from the Reading School District, interviewed, and have been offered a contracted elementary teaching position for the 2020-2021 academic school year.

I would recommend to other Student PSEA members to continue to be persistent in their job search, chase their passions, and continue to inspire change for the betterment of the commonwealth.

Jenna Achtzehn – Early Childhood/Special Education major – Slippery Rock University

I’m currently student teaching. With my major, I was required to do an eight-week placement in a general ed. classroom and eight weeks in a special ed. setting. I was able to complete my first eight weeks in a third-grade general ed. classroom before this all started so I am glad I got to finish that experience!

However, I did not get to go into my special ed. placement due to schools being closed. In lieu of being in the classroom, Slippery Rock is having us complete 20 hours a week of something relating to teaching, whether it be working with our cooperating teacher for distance learning, online professional development sessions, or anything else we may find will help us further our career.

Although this is not the traditional route, I have been able to work with my co-op a lot with online learning and I am glad this is not affecting me getting my diploma and certifications.

As far as the job search, I have already accepted a teaching position in Clarksville, Tennessee, and feel that a lot of districts are doing interviews right now just because they have a lot of time to conduct them. However, they are being done virtually.

Katie Flint – Early Childhood/Special Education major – West Chester University

When everything went down, I had just finished my special ed. on Friday, and then that weekend was when they shut all the schools down. So, I never got a chance to go into my gen ed. or meet my kids or meet my co-op face-to-face.

So, at this point, I’ve just been acting as a support system for my co-op in as many ways as I can. I’m finding a lot of resources and stuff online and just sending them to her and trying to be as much of a help as I can.

Because I know that having a student teacher in the room is one more added responsibility for a teacher, and that can be a lot with everything that’s happening. I couldn’t even imagine me being the teacher in this situation.

Then for things that I’m not going to be able to do for coursework, I would have had to be observed teaching.

That can’t really happen right now, so we’re staging it as much as possible. So, I’m asking my friends and other classmates to be kindergartners for me and we’re finding creative workarounds.

We have to meet weekly. We have found that we are often meeting much more than weekly now.

I was going to graduate in May. My plans were to find a job, preferably in PA, over the summer and go right into my first year of teaching. Now my plans have changed a little bit, I’m not 100 percent sure I want to go right into the classroom.

I definitely still want to teach. Nothing else as a career path quite feels right. It doesn’t make sense for me to do anything else, I think. But after this whole debacle, if you will, I may take a break and sub for a little bit or something like that and just take some time to collect myself, I guess. Just kind of see what happens, because there’s no end date to this right now.

I know that a bunch of my friends have found different placements and they will be having a classroom in the fall. Good for them. I’m absolutely thrilled. I don’t know if I personally want to do that right away. I may take a year or a couple months and sub or be a professional or an aid of some sort, because I still want to be in school.

But I don’t know what I’m going to be walking into come September and it’s a little bit scary. The thought of me not knowing what’s happening and then having to lead and help coach a bunch of younger kids through something when I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ve never done this before. That just makes me a little apprehensive.

I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from it. I know I’ve learned a lot about technology and stuff, even though my generation is supposed to be one of the most technology proficient, I guess. Even just through this, we really had to dig deep and find new resources, create new resources if necessary.

That’s kind of cool.