Field Experience Responsibilities

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

Getting Started

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.

Student Responsibilities

Be punctual and reliable

  • 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 if possible.
  • 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.

Behave in a professional manner

  • 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:
    • Field experience students are expected to dress in business casual attire unless the day’s tasks and responsibilities require otherwise or they are told otherwise by a supervisor.
    • Field experience students must present themselves in a clean and professional manner. 
    • Clothing should be free of holes, tears, or rips.  Clothing should be without offensive language or inappropriate designs.
    • Clothing must cover the body from one armpit across to the other armpit and down to approximately mid-thigh.  Undergarments must not be viewable.
    • Students are expected to exercise good judgement in choosing their clothes for field experiences and wear clothes appropriate for a K-12 school setting.
  • 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.

Communicate regularly with your cooperating teacher

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.

Mandated reporter

  • 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.

Confidentiality and data privacy

  • 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.


  • If at any time you feel unsafe during your field experience, you may leave your placement. Then follow up immediately with your Professor and/or the Director of Field Experiences.

Final suggestions

  • 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.

Suggestions for Activities

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:

Instructional Support

  • Presenting opening routines or making announcements
  • Preparing materials for students
  • Distributing instructional materials to students
  • Grading papers
  • Preparing bulletin boards

Tutorial Support

  • Working with individual students
  • Working with small groups of students
  • Reading with students

Monitoring Support

  • 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

Clerical Support

  • 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

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.