Information for the Student Teacher

This section contains information for the student teacher regarding requirements, responsibilities, and suggestions. The following topics are addressed in this section:

Student Teaching Requirements

The Education Department is eager to make your transition from college student to student teacher as smooth as possible.  You can help by carefully reading and fulfilling the requirements listed below:

Prior to reporting to your assignment you must:

  • Attend all ED 389 orientation sessions.
  • Have health and accident insurance.
  • Show proof of having liability insurance.  Liability insurance is automatic if you have joined EMSP.
  • Register your automobile with the Parking Office.  You will receive a temporary permit that allows you to have a car on campus during student teaching.  The Director will send a list of names to the Car Office about one month before the student teaching assignment begins.
  • Submit an online board options form through SIS.  (See Student Accounting Office for information.)
  • Submit a Background Check if required by your district.

During the teaching experience, the student teacher will:

  • Complete the schedule form in Tk20 (Applications–>Create–>Student Teacher Schedule) as soon as your teaching schedule has been determined.  This form will be sent to the appropriate college supervisors.  Failure to supply this information causes inconvenience for those who need to communicate with you.
  • Be present for student teaching every day.  You are expected to follow the arrival and departure schedule of a regular teacher in your school.
  • Obtain approval from cooperating teacher(s) and college supervisors well in advance about any planned absences. Student teachers are encouraged to prepare “substitute lesson plans” for any instructional days missed.
  • Notify your cooperating teacher(s) and college supervisors in the event of illness or family emergency.  You should also notify the Director of Field Experiences if your illness is more than three days or if there is to be an extended absence.
  • Follow the calendar and vacation schedule of the school where you are doing your student teaching.  Do not follow the college vacation schedule.
  • Write a personal introduction letter to distribute to your students’ parents/guardians at the beginning of your placement.
  • Keep a daily or weekly reflective journal of student teaching experiences.  This journal should be sent to your college supervisors on a weekly basis.
  • Provide your cooperating teachers with the dates and times of college supervisory visits.  This schedule will be given to you at the student teaching orientation.
  • Notify your college supervisors if your school will not be in session on the date that they are to visit.  If you are unable to reach your supervisors, notify the Director of Field Experiences who will relay the information to them.
  • Attend student teaching seminars.
  • Participate in a mid-term assessment with cooperating teacher(s) and share results with college supervisors (for fourteen-week placements only).
  • Assemble a portfolio for Standard 1.

When the student teaching assignment has been completed, the student will:

  • Schedule an exit conference with the Director of Field Experiences.   A sign-up sheet with possible conference dates and times will be available at the last student teaching seminar.  The following items should be submitted in Tk20 prior to the exit conference; items with an asterisk can be submitted to the Director of Field Experiences at the exit conference.
    • Student Teaching Goals
    • Student Teaching Report
    • Disposition Self-Assessment
    • Attendance Form
    • Human Relations Component
    • All Feedback Forms
    • FERPA Waiver*
    • edTPA Video Permission Slips*

Contract for Student Teaching

The Student Teaching Contract outlines the conditions and expectations for student teachers during the professional semester. Student Teachers sign this contract prior to student teaching.

Expectations and Roles

Student Teachers and Students — Student teachers should:

  • Keep information about students confidential.
  • Be more concerned with what is being achieved with the students than with the impression being made with the cooperating teacher or the college supervisor.
  • Maintain the dignity necessary to gain the respect of students.
  • Be empathetic and courteous toward all students.
  • Show enthusiasm for learning and your subject area.
  • Conform disciplinary measures to the instructions of the cooperating teacher.
  • Be examples to students in every way — physically, mentally, ethically, etc.
  • Be just as interested in and as ready to assist with the improvement of a class as if it were their own.
  • Realize that each student is an individual and take into consideration individual abilities, interests, and capacities for learning.
  • Be completely impartial in dealing with students and constantly strive to be fair while judging students actions.
  • Refrain from imposing their religious or political views upon students and exhibit a broad-minded, tolerant attitude toward other groups and individuals.
  • Not be too concerned with first impressions.  Some of the students whom you peg as bad actors can end up being your best students.
  • Be friendly, but firm.  When you do choose to talk to a student about behavior, don’t do it with a smile on your face.
  • Not become so involved with one or two students that you are unaware of what the rest of the class is doing.  A good teacher knows what each student is doing in the class at a given time.
  • Admit not knowing an answer.  Be sure you find the answer or have an answer ready for the next class period.
  • Be aware of the student “crush.”  This is normal adolescent behavior and should be handled with understanding and empathy.
  • Keep a sense of humor.  Do not be afraid to laugh at yourself.  Let your students laugh with you.

Student Teachers and Cooperating Teachers — Student teachers should:

  • Always remember that cooperating teachers are in legal control of the class and are legally responsible for it.
  • Accept the cooperating teachers’ decisions and respect their opinions concerning the material to be taught.
  • Spend time getting to know their cooperating teachers and building positive working relationships.
  • Collaborate with cooperating teachers and hold frequent conferences.
  • Support cooperating teachers in matters of discipline.
  • Have their lesson plans checked by the cooperating teacher, in accordance with specific plans that have been made.
  • Cheerfully do any task which will aid the cooperating teacher in conducting the class.
  • Consult with cooperating teachers and college supervisors for assistance with areas of difficulty.

Student Teachers and College Supervisors  — Student teachers should:

  • Consider the college supervisor as one who is trying to assist in their adjustment to the profession of teaching.
  • Provide supervisors with the reflective journal and materials and lesson plans being used before the class begins.
  • Be appreciative of constructive criticism, seek suggestions, and put those suggestions into practice.

Personal Attributes and Professional Responsibilities — Student teachers should:

  • Respect those with whom they work — students, cooperating teachers, college supervisors, administrators, and fellow student teachers.
  • Consider themselves members of the communities in which they teach and act accordingly.
  • Remember that student teaching is a learning situation and be eager to receive suggestions and implement them.
  • Adapt their behavior and practices to the situation in which they student teach.  They should be guided by what is considered acceptable in their particular room, school, and district.
  • Acquaint themselves with professional organizations and publications and continue to maintain and upgrade their professional development through reading professional literature.
  • Manifest pride in the teaching profession.
  • Consider themselves members of the profession and act in all matters according to its code of ethics.
  • Assume responsibility for knowing the legal responsibilities of teachers.
  • Strive to broaden their knowledge and be well-informed on current events.
  • Pay close attention to personal hygiene and grooming habits.  Personal appearance should be appropriate and in accordance with the appearance of other teachers in the school.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is required for your protection against a lawsuit.  This requirement is satisfied when you join Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP).  A credit or debit card from Discover, MasterCard, or Visa is needed.  Be sure to select the correct year of coverage and print a copy of your receipt.

Reflective Journal

Keep a reflective journal on a daily or weekly basis.  Each entry should include highlights of the teaching experience and, especially, include reflective thoughts about those experiences.  Submit your electronic journal to college supervisors weekly.

A college supervisor may share a student teacher’s journal in part or in whole with the Director of Field Experiences for consultation or upon request of the Director of Field Experiences.

Lesson Plans

Write lesson plans using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Lesson Plan Template or a variation of it.  You are expected to (at a minimum) use this template for all edTPA lesson plans and for supervisor visits. Submit your lesson plans in advance to your cooperating teacher(s).  Allow enough time for revisions if necessary.  Your lesson plans will be reviewed at each visit of your college supervisors.

Unit Plans

You will develop a unit plan for each instructional unit you teach.  You can use the Unit Plan template or the music ensemble Feedback Loop for Student Learning, or a different format, but it must include Standards and Objectives, Assessment, and a Learning Plan. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO TASKS A and B from the Unit Plan or the Feedback Loop before you send it to your supervisors. Submit a unit plan during the second half of student teaching to your host teacher and college supervisors at least ONE WEEK before you teach the unit.

Standard 1 Portfolio

You will submit a portfolio in Tk20 with at least three pieces of evidence to show that you have met the Standard 1: Subject Matter standards as outlined by the Minnesota Board of Teaching in the Standards of Effective Practice.  Students who are pursuing dual licensure will need to submit a separate Standard 1 portfolio for each licensure area.

Residence Life Information

At the end of the semester you will be returning to campus for your ED 381 and ED 385 classes held during the day.  Many students commute from their present living arrangements.  If that is not agreeable to you, you may request to be in a dorm room for that week. If you are interested in on-campus housing, you need to contact Pamela McDowell, Director of Residence Life (mcdowell) (3011) before break.

Sexual Harassment

The Education Department at St. Olaf College is committed to stopping sexual harassment wherever it occurs and increasing awareness of its nature and extent.  It is imperative for future teachers and the children with whom they will work that we create a climate in which sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

Students enrolled in education courses and participating in field experiences are required to understand and be aware of the legal implications of sexual harassment as it relates to working as tutors, teacher aides, and student teachers in PK-12 schools. The College’s policy can be found here.

Work Stoppage

In the event of a district-wide work stoppage, student teachers will not report to their assigned schools and under no circumstances are they to cross picket lines or participate in school-related activities until the strike has been resolved.  Contacts with school authorities of the cooperating schools involved will be through the Director of Field Experiences rather than by student teachers.  Student teachers are not to be used as substitute teachers during the strike period.

Student teachers in all cases are to follow the guidance of the Director of Field Experiences and are not to conduct themselves in such a way as to suggest that they favor either side in any jurisdictional dispute.

If a prolonged strike appears imminent, particularly during the first through the seventh week of student teaching, the Director will reassign student teachers to placements in another school district.  All possible consideration will be given to the student teacher’s second or third choice of placement.

Theft/Damage to Property

In the event that your property is stolen or damaged on school property or at a school activity, you must report it to the appropriate authorities, including the police/school police liaison officer and school administrators.

Observation Guide and Checklist of Experiences in Student Teaching

You can use this Observation Guide during your first weeks of student teaching to help structure your observations of your school, your classroom, and your community. You can use this checklist to keep track of the experiences you have during student teaching.

Suggestions to the Student Teacher

The suggestions listed below are the results of hundreds of exit conferences held with student teachers over the years.  Read them carefully and, hopefully, you will not experience problems encountered by former students.

  • You should have solved all housing problems prior to starting your assignment.  In choosing housing, it may be a good idea to find another student as a roommate.  This will not only ease the financial burden but will also offer you companionship with someone experiencing situations similar to you.  Many problems at first seem unique only to you.  Talking to another student often shows that your problems are common ones shared by most beginning teachers.
  • Check transportation routes to your school. Do a trial run before the first day.  Be sure to check parking facilities at the school.  Are teachers given specific parking space?  Do you need a parking permit?  Parking in the principal’s space isn’t going to win a new friend.
  • Be on time.  There is no worse way to start an assignment than arriving late for school.  Be sure to find out when the teacher contracted day begins.
  • Establish which classes you will be teaching as quickly as possible.  Most students know this before reporting on the first day.  In large schools it is sometimes difficult to assign specific classes until you arrive for the first day.  If you have more than one cooperating teacher, confer with both at one meeting.
  • Show initiative early.  Don’t wait to be told what to do, but try to anticipate how you can help out.  Show self confidence — not dependency.  If your cooperating teacher says it would be nice to have the bulletin board changed, do it, don’t wait for an order.
  • You should have met the principal or administrator responsible for student teachers prior to reporting the first day.  If you have not met the administrator you should report directly to that office.  Ask your cooperating teacher about procedures during one of your pre-student teacher visits.  Most administrators will want to visit with you before the first day of student teaching.
  • Make an effort to meet as many faculty members as possible.  Your cooperating teacher will introduce you to principals and assistant principals.  Be sure to meet the librarian, guidance counselor, and media director as soon as possible.
  • Make seating charts for all your classes.  You should know all names by the time you start teaching your first class.
  • Ask your cooperating teacher to recommend other teachers to observe.  Be sure to ask permission to observe their classes.  Observe teachers outside of your discipline.
  • Visit the special education services in your school.  See if any of your students are receiving these services.  If so, find out what help and advice these teachers can give you.
  • Attend all faculty meetings.  Pay more attention to listening than giving your opinions.
  • Make contact with teachers who supervise co-curricular activities of interest to you.  Usually teachers are eager to have a student teacher assist in directing activities which are generally held after school hours.  Involvement in co-curricular activities is an excellent opportunity to work with and learn about young people outside of the classroom.
  • Spend some time learning how to operate the various technology available in your school.  Perhaps the media director could give you a briefing.
  • Find out what kind of record keeping your cooperating teacher expects of you.  Will you use the same grade book or should you make one of your own?  What kind of a grading system does your cooperating teacher use?  Are you expected to use the same system?
  • Become a second instructor while observing.  Don’t just sit and watch, but help pass out materials, assist with individual instruction and conduct small group discussions.  Volunteer to get involved with as much as possible during the observation period.
  • Does your cooperating teacher give the students time to clean up the room before the bell rings?  Do last hour students have special room clean-up instructions?
  • When you observe your cooperating teacher handling a discipline problem, ask yourself how you would have handled the same problem.  What worked for him/her might not have worked for you.  Try to spot potential discipline problems and brainstorm what you might do to solve these problems.
  • Remember that your cooperating teacher cannot devote 100% time to your supervision.  There will be many other commitments and duties.  Some student teachers expect the cooperating teacher to be available at all times.  Be realistic.  Jot down questions that you have and ask them during conference periods.
  • Your cooperating teacher is also your mentor.  He or she wants you to succeed.  Ask for advice and help.
  • Be sure to inform the college of any changes in your teaching schedule or with your cooperating teacher(s).
  • Refer some of your difficult problems to your cooperating teacher.  Do not try to do everything yourself.
  • Be familiar with school first-aid rules and procedures for accident reports in the event a student under your supervision is injured.  Never give medication to any student.  Consult with the school nurse on all student health matters.
  • Write detailed lesson plans.  Go over the plans with your cooperating teacher prior to teaching the first lesson.  Pay particular attention to timing–how much do you expect to cover in the lesson and how much time do you want to spend on each activity?
  • Write sound objectives.
  • Come to class prepared for whatever activity you are going to teach.  Disorganization on your part can bring on discipline problems.
  • Return from your weekends in plenty of time to prepare for Monday.  Better to prepare on Friday before you leave.
  • Get to your classes on time.  You should have all materials organized and ready to go when class starts.  If using technology, be sure to do a test run prior to the beginning of class.
  • Set up time before or after school hours when students can come to you for help or remedial work.
  • Attend as many school events as time allows; students love to see their teachers at games and concerts.
  • Get plenty of sleep each night.  Extended periods of late hours can make you susceptible to illness — and irritable!  Don’t let yourself get run down.
  • Ask students good questions.  Don’t answer them yourself.  Give them time to answer.  If necessary, rephrase the question and then wait until someone attempts to answer.
  • Show enthusiasm when teaching.  Move around the room.  Don’t stand behind a podium or your desk the whole period.  Get out where the work is — with your students.
  • If your lesson is going badly, change pace and attempt to fulfill your objective using another activity.  Learn to think on your feet and try new ideas.
  • Differentiate your activities and/or reading materials so all students can achieve your objectives.
  • Try to get away from your notes during the class.  Many student teachers rely much too heavily on them.  Know what you are going to teach in each class.  Read thoroughly, and when you get into the classroom, try to proceed without notes.
  • Never leave your class unattended.  If you must leave the classroom, notify the office or the teacher next door of your absence.
  • Before you start, ask your cooperating teacher what options for discipline consequences you have.  Then think if you will use them and when.  Create your discipline system in your mind, even write it down.
  • It’s OK to be terrified.  It’s OK to be uncertain.  Know that you will not be a great, even good, teacher by the end of the semester.  Celebrate small achievements and victories.