The Bank Street Difference: Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

“I can’t overemphasize how beneficial it is—Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement,” says Associate Student Trustee, Liz Gordon ’12 (VIDEO). “You can talk theory all you want, but it goes out the window when you are new in the classroom and there’s a lot of pressure. That’s where SF/A comes in.”
Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement consists of a two-hour, weekly conference group of five to seven students facilitated by the students’ faculty advisor who also observes the students in their field sites, usually once a month, and meets with them individually twice a month. Particulars vary depending on a student’s specific program, but SF/A is typically a two-semester experience.
SF/A: Uniquely Bank Street
Nancy Gropper, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, stresses that Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement provides highly individualized support and mentoring. She says, “Students take courses at the same time they are having supervised fieldwork, not courses first and fieldwork later. Our aim is to create a synergy between graduate course content and work in the field. Then, in their conference group, students learn that teaching is a collaborative profession: that you can turn to peers for support and guidance. It is very open-ended; advisees come in with problems and they all put their heads together about ways to address them.”
SF/A: In Action 
In her first student-teaching job in 4th grade in a public school, Gordon felt ill at ease with the head teacher and nervous about getting the students to relate to her. “My advisor and the group helped me get rid of that negativity, so I could really teach,” she says.

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