Let me begin by giving you some insight into what is required for your during student teaching seminar concerning Ministry, Church, & Society. The teacher candidate must spend 14 total hours with someone from the Dept of Religion and Theology. No big deal right? Let's continue: the candidate must also submit a proposal in which they describe how they plan to spend 8 hours at a church ministry or compassionate ministry. At the end of the semester they will submit a 5-6 page "reflection paper" about this project. Meanwhile, you must become involved in a local church every week and submit 12 "reflections" about that throughout the semester. The candidate must also submit a 6-9 page paper about The Universe Next Door and a 5-6 page paper about the Christian Teacher in the Public School. Now alone, this is really not that much work; but in the context of actually learning your job that you plan to do for the rest of your life? It seems like an inordinate amount of work to me.
I may sound like I am griping about petty little stuff, but from this side of student teaching I believe I am about to enter a semester that has the steepest learning curve of any previous one. The problem I have with this is that the curriculum in the School of Ed is designed so that you must do this during student teaching. Why not give this as an option in an earlier semester? I would have taken MCS long ago had I realized this was what was coming. Why not prepare your teacher candidates ahead of time? My advisor spoke with someone about this and their response was "Just have them take MCS before student teaching". NOW you tell me? Come on, why did I not know this 2 semesters ago? The entire purpose of this is to "convince" us to adapt regular church attendance as a lifestyle. I am almost 38 years old! If I haven't adapted this lifestyle by now, the likelihood of me doing so is extremely slim. That being said, I must tell you that I am on staff at a local church as the co-director of College Ministry. So just what am I supposed to get from this experience. I would much rather focus on my teaching right now and really learn how to do it and do it well, rather than add all of this other extraneous business into the experience.
Student teaching, in my opinion, is the most crucial semester for a teacher candidate. Its where you learn how to "make the rubber meet the road". Why cloud that with tons of writing? I mean, I am going to go to church whether they make me do it or not. I understand the point of MCS for a student who is still learning their place in God's kingdom, but the School of Ed should not design the professional semester so that the candidate has more stress than they should at such a critical time in their lives. Don't you think a young person would be more likely to get in church and stay in church if they took this class during an easy semester? I do, but then I am not a PhD who has a say so in the design of the School of Ed, so what do I know?