At UCI's 50-year celebration, held February 5, 2016, the School of Education hosted a tribute to founding faculty, staff, and students. Rachael Mitchell was one of faculty members who contributed her memories of the early days at UCI.
We are sharing historic recollections at this time with a wider audience since we believe information from the past helps in our understanding of the current accomplishments of the School.
Remembrances of Rachael Mitchell
In developing the Office of Teacher Education in 1968, university leaders saw the need to provide a teacher education program for UCI graduates. There was support for a teacher education program from many of the administrators and faculty.
Beginning in 1970 and extending through 1972, I worked with the UCI Intern through the San Joaquin School District. (In 1973 this district became the Irvine and Saddleback Unified School Districts.) Fran Craig Kenney was the coordinator of the UCI Intern Program. During these two years, I assisted intern teachers from UCI that were hired by the school district. This program allowed students to teach without completing their entire teacher education program. It was a win/win program for the students and the school districts.
In 1972, I was hired to develop and teach the Elementary Reading Methods (105A) and to supervise student teachers. I developed the goals and objectives for 105A. My office was in the Social Science Tower, and in the late afternoon, I would see the Irvine Ranch cowboys herd their cattle across campus!
The elementary reading course evolved with strong support from the students and administration. Through the Irvine Unified School District, I demonstrated video reading lessons from University Park Elementary school to UCI students on campus. Discussions and questions with students helped to support what they were learning on campus and in their field experience. The elementary reading course evolved into a language/literature based course and was highly successful.
When the State Teacher Credential Department changed the teaching credentials and requirements: Multiple Subject Credential (K-12) and Single Subject Credential (6-12), the State Credential Department required classroom experience in elementary schools in the area of reading. This requirement was included under 105LA. In addition, the California State Credential Department established reading course requirements for all teacher education programs throughout California. The goals for the reading course were guidelines for the development of objectives to be completed by the students and were a part of the accreditation process.
The 10 weeks of the quarter did not allow sufficient time to include diagnostic and prescriptive elements of reading problems that our students needed to be effective reading teachers. I approached Dr. Bailey about changing the emphasis of 105LA and was given a “green light” to develop the diagnostic/prescriptive reading course, and the elementary classroom experiences were added to 105A with specific goals and objectives to comply with the state credential requirements.
During my time at UCI, I also supervised student teachers in several school districts and conducted student teacher seminars. We developed Student Teaching Centers at schools selected by the school districts in conjunction with UCI OTE. At the Centers, five to six student teachers were placed with selected master teachers and the supervisor became a part of the school staff two to three times per week. I worked with the student teachers, master teachers, and principals.
A granddaughter and a different course brought me to a retirement decision, and I worked part-time for two years supervising student teachers until 1992.
During my time at UCI, I witnessed excellent accomplishments in the Multiple Subject Credential Program and the development of the Department of Education. I only saw a promising future for teacher education.
I am proud of our bright past and look forward to the brilliant future of the School of Education.
Mel and Rachael Mitchell, February 2016