The University of the Pacific's music education internship is a long-running, successful program administered jointly by the Conservatory of Music and the Benerd School of Education. For more than 30 years we have placed qualified, motivated Pacific graduates with a bachelor's degree in music education into our community's public schools and provided mentorship to guide them through the challenges and responsibilities that all new teachers encounter.
Students earning their California music teaching credential may pursue either a traditional student teaching program or an internship as their capstone experience.
The internship program is for Bachelor of Music Education degree holders who want to move into the community with a full-time teaching position but with the supervision accorded to a student teacher. It is an empowering alternative to the traditional student teaching model, as it puts young teachers into the job market with a strong support network. As with student teaching, it leads to a single subject credential in music (K-12).
The internship can be part of a graduate degree program or can be taken as a credential-only option following a student's graduation with a Bachelor of Music degree from Pacific. Whether student teaching in the traditional model or pursuing an internship, undergraduate music education majors begin the process while enrolled at the Conservatory and take their education courses through the School of Education. In both plans, students pass certain music and education coursework and interview processes. There are GPA requirements (2.5 for student teaching, 3.0 for internship). For the internship, the applicant must pass an interview with the Music Education Internship Council, made up of Pacific faculty, alumni, and public school music teachers and administrators. The intern takes a full-time, paid position in a school district and receives supervision and support from Pacific faculty and a school-based site support team. The music education faculty assist the potential intern in finding a job; it is the candidate's responsibility to ultimately find and be hired into a suitable position for the internship. Interns have taken positions in K-12 positions throughout the Bay Area, Gold Country, and Central Valley.
Our music education internship program places eight to fifteen college graduates into exciting classroom jobs each year. With more than 30 years of experience, we have strong ties to the local education community. Over the past seven years, we have placed 100 percent of music education graduates and credential candidates into jobs or graduate schools. And, our graduates are prepared to succeed: of the 56 Conservatory graduates hired to teach since the 1997-1998 academic year, only two have left the field, compared to a national dropout rate of 33 percent for teachers within the first few years.
Fieldwork during the undergraduate years is a critical part of a music education major's experience. During the junior year, each student fulfills 50 hours of fieldwork per semester, with a high level of responsibility. Starting in the fall semester of the junior year, students are paired with music specialists in local school districts. By the fifth week of the semester, students are assigned to general music classes in the Stockton Unified School District, where they become teachers for eight to ten weeks with supervision provided by University faculty. In the spring semester students get more valuable classroom teaching experience in secondary school settings. There are many other fieldwork and hands-on teaching opportunities for undergraduates, including video training and "lab ensemble" work with public school students. Because students are working towards a K-12 credential, they have opportunities to observe and teach in band, orchestra, choir, and general music, as well as more idiosyncratic settings such as piano and guitar classes, jazz, marching band, and world music ensembles. Students generally specialize in instrumental or choral music, and their coursework and fieldwork reflect their specialization. Students have opportunities to work in urban, rural, and suburban school districts while at University of the Pacific.