The Impact of Mentoring At-risk Youth on the Socialization Process of Pre-Service Teachers
While much is known about how traditional field based practical experiences in teacher preparation programs impact the socialization of pre-service teachers, less is known about how practical experiences within after-school programs and other contexts influence pre-service teacher socialization. Relatedly, many scholars have sought to understand at-risk youth and have investigated teachers' experiences with these students within the context of schools and the gym. The purpose of this study was
... o understand how mentoring at-risk youth in an after-school program impacted the socialization of six pre-service teachers. Occupational Socialization Theory provided the theoretical framework for this study. Six PETE majors, in their first year of the PETE program participated in the study which occurred concurrently with their involvement in the after-school program. Data sources included four semi-structured interviews with each participant and four critical incident accounts. Findings indicated that the PSTs described three important outcomes resulting from working as mentors to at-risk youth in the after-school program. First, PSTs discussed the significance of having additional practical experience teaching and how this furthered their teacher development. PSTs also described an impassioned appreciation for knowing students. Finally, as a result of mentoring at-risk children, PSTs felt an overwhelming personal responsibility to demonstrate healthy social and emotional behaviors. This provides further insights into the degree to which pre-service teachers are active agents in constructing their own conceptions of teaching through the dialectical nature of socialization. The experiences and knowledge gained by the pre-service teachers in this study served to construct a view of teaching that includes a strong emphasis on knowledge of students and focus on affective skill development. Consistent with previous literature, the importance of practical experiences to pre-service teachers like the one in this study may facilitate pre-service teachers in moving toward a focus on students earlier in teacher training programs.