Field Experience Handbook

The educational field experiences program is a required component of most education classes.  It is intended to provide you with hands-on learning experiences in a school setting.  Your role will be as an observer, teacher’s assistant, and/or tutor.  This experience will complement your coursework because you will observe or put into practice concepts discussed in your education class as well as share your observations and questions gleaned from your school site.  For licensure candidates the field experience program is an essential element in preparation for student teaching, and successful completion of field experiences is a requirement for student teaching.

Table of Contents for Field Experience Handbook


You must complete a minimum of 120 hours of pre-student teaching experience in a school or some other educational setting to be endorsed by St. Olaf for a Minnesota teaching license.  These hours must be in conjunction with a St. Olaf education course.  You must have at least two experiences and each must be a minimum of 20 hours.  You must also have at least 60 hours of field experience in a classroom setting during the school day. It is typical for students in the education program to take more than one education interim thus accumulating 200 hours or more of pre-student teaching field experience.

Your field experiences must span the scope of your intended license.

  • Students seeking a 5-12 license need field experiences at both the middle school (5-8) and high school (9-12) grade levels.
  • Students seeking a K-12 license need field experiences at the elementary school (K-6), middle school (5-8), and high school (9-12) grade levels.

You must have at least 20 hours of field experience at each required grade level. Student teaching may count as one of your field experience levels; however, it is recommended that you complete all required field experience levels prior to student teaching if possible. In addition, you must have at least one pre-student teaching field experience:

  1. Observing/assisting/tutoring in your content area,
  2. Working with students with special needs (for example, students with IEPs or 504 plans),
  3. Working with linguistically diverse English learners (EL), and
  4. Using technology as an instructional tool.

Note: For the Human Relations requirement (ED 382) students must complete an education interim or its equivalent in a multicultural setting prior to student teaching.  A minimum of 60 hours of K-12 classroom experience in a multicultural school is required; at least 30 of these hours must be in a K-12 setting during the school day.

Note for music education students: It is highly recommended that you complete a field experience in classroom music (K-12) in either ED 330 or ED 378/ED 379.

Getting an Assignment

  • Students will attend a Sign-up Session where they will look over the potential assignments and choose an appropriate one.
  • If you prefer to arrange a placement at another site, you must obtain prior approval from a faculty person in the Education Department.
  • You must contact the teacher on your own and set up work times that are agreeable to both parties.


  • All students enrolled in Education courses must purchase a Tk20 account. To use Tk20 you will need to sign and submit a data privacy waiver.  You will receive an email from Heather Campbell, Director of Assessment, when it is time for you to subscribe to Tk20 directly online (see the Education Department website).
  • After you have confirmed your assignment with the teacher, you need to complete the Field Experience Confirmation Form in Tk20 (go to Applications–>Create–>Field Experience Confirmation Form; see this link for more directions).  This is ESSENTIAL.  The confirmation form is necessary in order to send your host teacher an evaluation form and certificate of participation and to acknowledge your host teacher at the end of the school year.
  • Keep track of your hours on a Goal Sheet during the semester.  As soon as you have finished your field experience, submit your Goal Sheet (in the Field Experience Binder) in Tk20 so your teacher can verify the hours; visit this link for directions.  You must submit a Goal Sheet in order to receive credit for your field experience hours.
  • Your host teacher will complete a Student Evaluation form in Tk20 to evaluate your performance.  You will be able to view this evaluation in Tk20.
  • If for any reason you change your initial placement, you must give the new information to Sue Couture right away.

Liability Insurance

  • Liability insurance is required for licensure candidates in all classes with field experiences, and it is highly recommended for students in ED 246, ED 260 and ED 290 who are not licensure candidates.  It is also required for all students in education interims.  You can obtain insurance by becoming a member of the professional organization, Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP).  Other advantages of joining EMSP are: you will receive publications, you can list your membership on your resume, you can get involved with EMSP activities on campus.
  • To join EMSP apply online using a credit card at and click on the Benefits link at the top. Then click on Membership and you will see Student Membership.
  • EMSP membership is for one academic year and needs to be renewed annually.
  • When liability insurance is required, it will be verified by EMSP rosters sent to the Education Department.  If you are not a member, you will be pulled from your placement until you have provided proof of membership in EMSP.


Placements at all sites except Greenvale Park Elementary, the Northfield Area Learning Center and St. Dominic’s will necessitate having some kind of transportation other than walking.  We will send a list of names to the Parking Office once assignments have been confirmed.  The Parking Office requires that you complete their application form if you plan to have a car on campus.  You also can arrange a ride to Northfield Schools that are not within walking distance through Oles-Go:

  • Oles-Go is providing free rides Monday – Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 p.m.  Make online reservations before 9pm, a minimum of a DAY PRIOR to when you need a ride. “We emphasize that regular recurring riders set their rides up via online/email as soon as possible for the recurring schedule”.  Students will receive an email confirmation. You must show the driver your Ole Card at pick-up.

Background Checks

If you are doing your field experience in the Northfield schools, you will need to complete a Confidentiality Acknowledgement and Informed Consent Form.  This form only needs to be completed once each academic year.  Some offenses may prevent you from receiving approval to work in the Northfield schools.  Please turn in your form to Sue Couture before you begin your field experience.

Name Tags/Lanyards

Please wear your name tag every time you are in the schools for your field experience.  This will help identify you as a St. Olaf Education Student.  You will keep your name tag and use it for all your field experiences throughout the teacher education program.  There is $1.00 fee to replace your name tag.

International Students

We will help facilitate the process for international students to receive authorization to participate in a field experience. At the Field Experience Sign-up Session, notRosie or Sue where you will be doing  your field experience. We will send a CPT letter to the school principal and then forward it to the Assistant Director for International Student Engagement. Students can start their field experience once they are notified that their authorization is completed. Since this process may cause a delay in starting, international students should plan accordingly in order to obtain the necessary number of field experience hours.

Unsuccessful Field Experience Policy

Field experience students may be removed from their placement at the request of their host site or for other reasons involving unprofessional behavior. This may result in students not receiving credit for their field experience. The Director of Field Experiences will determine the appropriate next steps, including reassignment to a new field experience placement, implementation of an IDP, or recommendation to discontinue in the educational studies concentration/teacher licensure program.