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

COVID-19 Information

  1. Field experience students are expected to follow all health and safety guidelines from the stateSt. Olaf, and their schools.  In order to participate, students must be vaccinated and are strongly encouraged to wear masks during their field experiences.  
  2. Field experience students who test positive for COVID-19 must notify their cooperating teacher(s) that they will be absent and copy their education professor on the email.  They do not return to their field experience until their isolation has ended.
  3. Field experience students who are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can return to their field experience as long as they have no symptoms and wear a high-quality mask.  They should follow the testing protocols outlined by the College’s contact tracing team.
  4. Field experience students will be excused from field experience hours due to illness, isolation, or quarantine.  They are welcome to make up the missed hours if possible, but their grade will not be negatively affected by excused absences.  If they are not feeling well, they do not go to field experience and must notify their cooperating teacher(s) that they will be absent.


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.


Placements at all sites except Greenvale Park Elementary, the Northfield Area Learning Center and St. Dominic School will necessitate having some kind of transportation other than walking. This includes Farmington Schools. The Parking Office requires that you complete their application form on the St. Olaf website 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:

1.  Oles-Go:  To access the shuttle, students should contact the driver at 507-301-4818 roughly 30 minutes before they wish to be picked up. The driver will then work with the student on a plan to return to campus. The pick-up and drop-off location for this shuttle is Buntrock Commons circle. This service is free to students with a St. Olaf ID.The route runs Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. It may be best to set up a repeating schedule.

2 .  Dial – A – Ride:  A Dial-A-Ride bus is also available in Northfield. St. Olaf students can pick up Dial-A-Ride tokens from Sue Couture in the Education Department as there is a fee to ride. The Education Department will pay for tokens for rides to and from Northfield Schools.To schedule a ride, call the dispatch center at 866-623-7505 between the hours of 6:00 AM and 6:15 PM Monday thru Friday. Hiawathaland Transit recommends riders make a reservation 24 hours in advance. It may be best to set up a repeating schedule.

Background Checks

If you are doing your field experience in the Northfield Public Schools for the 2021-2022 school year you will need to complete an online background check and confidentiality acknowledgement form before you enter the school. Northfield Background Check Form

  • Provide evidence of COVID vaccination by uploading your completed vaccination record card as part of the background form.
  • Sign the confidentiality acknowledgment, plus the informed consent form that grants permission for the district to conduct a criminal background check.

Helpful Hints:  The program and/or building you are volunteering for/in:  Please insert – “St. Olaf Ed. Dept. student assistant”. You then check your Northfield school. Referred by: Please insert – “Sue Couture”

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, notify Rosie 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.