Field Experience Handbook
The field experience program is a required component of ED 290, ED 330, ED 374 and ED 321. It is intended to provide students with hands-on learning experiences in a school setting. The field experience student will be an observer, teacher’s assistant, and/or tutor. This experience will complement coursework because students will observe or put into practice concepts discussed in education classes as well as share observations and questions gleaned from the school site. The field experience program is an essential element in preparing students for student teaching, and successful completion of the field experiences is a requirement for student teaching.
- Cooperating Teacher Responsibilities
- Student Responsibilities
- Suggestions for Activities
- Unsuccessful Field Experience Policy
The cooperating teacher should introduce his/her St. Olaf student to class(es) and explain basic classroom and school procedures.
Throughout the Experience
Throughout the experience, cooperating teachers should actively involve the student in tasks (see Suggestions for Activities) and when possible, allow the St. Olaf student an opportunity to teach a lesson or portion thereof.
The cooperating teacher will complete a brief evaluation of student at conclusion of assignment. This evaluation will be done in Tk20. We would be especially grateful if teachers would take a few minutes to share your comments with the St. Olaf student. Since most students will continue taking education classes with the goal of becoming a teacher, constructive comments become a valuable tool for self-improvement.
- Be punctual and reliable
- Behave in a professional manner
- Communicate regularly with host teacher
- Perform duties as requested by host teacher (and outlined in the Field Experiences Ladder)
- Observe classroom dynamics and assist as needed
- Show initiative and become an active participant in the classroom
- Where possible, prepare and teach a lesson or portion of a lesson
- Be a mandated reporter and understand the limits of confidentiality and data privacy
- Other suggestions
- You must notify your host teacher well in advance of planned absences and call the school in the morning if you are ill. When you are absent, you should make up the hours.
- In general, you do not need to make up hours when your site is closed. However, if site conflicts amount to more than three hours, you must obtain approval from your Professor or the Director of Field Experiences.
- First Day: The first day, report to the office to sign in as a visitor. They can direct you to your host teacher’s room. Meet your host teacher and begin observing/assisting in the classroom. Give him/her your Student Information Form (also available in Tk20).
- Dress: Wear clothes appropriate for a K-12 school setting. Follow the school dress code. Appear neat, clean, and professional.
- Boundaries: You are expected to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with students. Act in accordance with your role as a tutor or teacher’s aide. Do not ask students for their contact information and do not give them yours. Do no interact with students on social media.
In order to get the most out of your field experience, it is important to communicate regularly with your cooperating teacher. You are expected to initiate initial, midway, and final conversations with your cooperating teacher in order to discuss your goals for the field experience, seek feedback, ask questions, and share information.
Before students begin the field experience or on their first day, they will send the Student Information Form to their cooperating teacher as an attachment.
- Initial Conversation: Students will initiate a conversation to discuss their goals for the field experience. Other things to discuss include: an agreed upon schedule, the student’s duties, and school rules and regulations. Also, students will ask for the best way to contact their cooperating teacher and obtain either a phone number or an e-mail address
- Midway Conversation: About one month into the field experience students will check-in with their cooperating teacher to discuss how things are going, ask questions, share insights, review progress on their goals, and agree upon future tasks.
- Final Conversation: The last week of the field experience students will discuss with their cooperating teacher whether they achieved their goals and ask for feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement. Their cooperating teacher may also want to share the Student Evaluation with them.
- You are legally required as a tutor or teacher’s aide to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
- If you suspect child abuse or neglect, you must report it immediately and file a written report with the local law enforcement agency or child protection unit within 72 hours. Also inform your host teacher and professor.
- Limits of Confidentiality: You may not promise confidentiality in the following cases:
- A student is in danger or has been harmed.
- A student plans to do harm to himself/herself.
- A student plans to harm someone else.
- Confidentiality and Data Privacy: Maintain confidentiality of all privileged communication and student records. When sharing information about a student, it is important to protect the student’s identity.
- Remember that you will be a guest at the school where you work. Be professional and courteous.
- Show initiative as well as some creative inclination.
- Learn as much from the experience as you can.
Students are expected to assist classroom teachers, to observe student-student and teacher-student interactions and to help where they are needed. See the Field Experience Ladder for activities appropriate for students enrolled in different courses. In general, students can contribute in the following areas:
- Presenting opening routines or making announcements
- Preparing materials for students
- Distributing instructional materials to students
- Grading papers
- Preparing bulletin boards
- Working with individual students
- Working with small groups of students
- Reading with students
- Monitoring students’ free time: in the lunchroom and between classes
- Providing field trip supervision
- Assisting with the regrouping of students for instruction
- Assisting students during individual work time or group activities
- Helping with dismissal
- Taking attendance
- Recording students’ grades
- Making progress charts and teaching aides
- Filing and cataloging materials
Interns will also have opportunities to learn by OBSERVING the following:
- Specific content being taught
- Expectations and classroom management
- Strategies for meeting the needs of diverse learners
- Presentation skills as well as questioning and discussion techniques
- Planning skills and the use of materials and various instructional approaches
- The learning environment and motivational strategies
- Routines and procedures
- Various assessment techniques
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.