The New Teacher Education Program: An Interview with Educators of the Future

As one of the first two graduates of the new teacher education program, Anna Schörgenhuber plans to teach math and biology.

Anna Schörgenhuber: Photo credit_ JKU
Anna Schörgenhuber; Credit: JKU

What does it feel like to be a recent graduate of the teaching degree program?
Anna Schörgenhuber: It feels great! On one hand, I'm excited to be able to start a new phase in my life. I’m actually already in the classroom and very motivated to now be able to teach full time. On the other hand, I'm also a bit wistful because college was a nice time in my life and I made a lot of new friends!

What made you decide to become a teacher?
Anna Schörgenhuber: I decided to become an educator because I enjoy working with young people; watching them grow and learn makes me happy and I can get them excited about learning more about the subject areas I am passionate about. It’s also great when they become young adults and go their own way; this is exactly what we are trying to prepare them for at school as best we can."

The JKU offers the Bachelor's degree program in secondary education (general education) together with universities in Upper Austria and Salzburg, opens an external URL in a new window. What is everyday student life really like?
Anna Schörgenhuber: At the beginning of each semester, students create their own schedule and start classes once that’s set. The schedule includes internships and courses at the university and teacher training colleges that have teacher education programs. Courses in a few subject areas are held in Salzburg so that means traveling to Salzburg once or twice a week. The program is great for someone like me who lives in Linz but has to complete some program requirements in Salzburg because I can complete some of the required classes right here in Linz.

How was the student teaching part of the program?
Anna Schörgenhuber: The teacher education program in Linz includes seven student teaching sessions and going to a number of different types of schools to teach different grade levels. Right at the start of the program, students complete an introductory internship and teach one class session, giving you insight into the teaching profession right from the start! Many student teachers are most likely familiar with the theory-practice problem. However, I believe they have this issue well under control in Linz! The many classroom teaching sessions are a strong foundation to build a future career.

Would you recommend the program to others? If so, why?
Anna Schörgenhuber: Most definitely! The teacher education program in Linz is anything but boring and you are not just a number. Faculty members interact with students. In many cases and after just a few semesters, the majority of students in a subject area know the faculty members and so there is a sense of community. In addition, students’ needs are taken into consideration and – at least in my case - the course content most definitely prepares you to actually teach in the classroom.

What are your plans now?
Anna Schörgenhuber: I am already in the classroom at the Adalbert Stifter Praxismittelschule at PHDL. In the near future, I would like to continue my education and complete the post-graduate program for practicing educators. This way, students can also come to my classes and we can learn from each other. I hope I can inspire them to become educator like myself!

When you look at your future as an educator, what do you consider to be opportunities and/or challenges?
Anna Schörgenhuber: As in many other occupations, the Coronavirus pandemic hit us hard. In the future, we will have to definitely fill in educational gaps. Aside from that, I believe that teaching is a very diverse job and is rarely boring. One future challenge I see is a shortage of educators and this is already becoming apparent at some schools. In some subject areas, there are so many teachers missing that untested teachers have to teach these subject areas! I would not want to miss out on an opportunity to have a challenging job that is different every day!


About Anna Schörgenhuber

Age: 25
Current place of residence: Haslach an der Mühl
Born in: Rohrbach in Upper Austria
Majors (subject area combination): Mathematics & Biology and Environmental Studies
Hobbies: Traveling, playing in the city music band, spending time outdoors and with friends