Description of Student Teaching
The professional semester is the final semester, and the culmination of the education major's teacher preparation. The professional semester may be composed of student teaching or the alternate program.
During student teaching, education majors will put into practice skills and theories learned in the excellent courses at YCP as well as skills and theories of the assigned cooperating teacher. As the student teaching semester progresses, the student teacher will acquire responsibilities until the student teacher has full responsibility for the entire day. The student teacher will spend a minimum of two weeks (although we will ask you for 4 weeks) with full responsibility. Upon successful conclusion of student teaching, student teachers will receive a grade, a letter of evaluation/recommendation from their college supervisor and a letter of evaluation/recommendation from their cooperating teacher.
Suggested Progression of the Student Teaching Experience
To assist in planning for the student teaching experience, York College has assembled the following progression of responsibilities to be used as a guide in working with your student teacher.
- Period of Orientation and Adjustment (Weeks 1, 2, & 3) – A good beginning is very important. Be sure to prepare yourself both mentally and emotionally to share your class, your room, your materials and most importantly, yourself! (Student teachers will have a 1/2 day of student teaching on the first four Fridays.)
- Period of Observation and Demonstration (End of Week 2 through Week 3) – This period begins the gradual metamorphosis from student to teacher! During this time the student teacher should be given opportunity to discuss your methods, philosophy and strategies.
- Period of Increasing Responsibility (Weeks 4 through 8) – At this time, the student teacher should be given a choice as to which class or subject her/she would most like to "teach." The selection of the class or subject would also depend upon the area in which the individual feels most confident. If you are asked to select a group or class with whom the student teacher is to work, initiate the experience with the most cooperative, attentive and "ready-to-learn" group. As weeks 4 through 8 progress, continue to place additional responsibilities at the rate of one new subject or class per week. Depending on your judgment as to the success of this undertaking, it should culminate about the seventh or eighth week with the responsibility for the full day.
- "Full Load" Student Teaching (Weeks 9 through 12) – Trust, honesty and open communication are some of the ingredients that combine to make the student teaching experience a successful and memorable one.
- Culmination and Evaluation Period (Weeks 13 through 15) – The final weeks should be ones in which you are reassuming class responsibilities and gearing up for assimilation!
In tandem with the cooperating teacher, the immediate overseer of this final student teaching experience of the teacher candidate is the college supervisor. This individual represents the Education department and has the responsibility of helping to ensure the success of the student teacher as a future practicing teacher. The college supervisor serves as liaison for the Education department, clarifying policy matters regarding the activities and expected outcomes of the student teacher and monitoring the behaviors of the student teacher to encourage conformity to departmental requirements. It is our hope and, indeed anticipation, that this person be seen as a colleague and partner in learning, both to the student teacher and the cooperating teacher.
The college supervisor comes to you sharing the same focal objective – to help devise a set of activities and delegated responsibilities for the student teacher that will lead to the best of classroom experiences for both your students and the student teacher. Concomitantly, our common goal is to provide as many and as varied experiences as is possible all couched in an environment of positive encouragement, helpful guidance and practical advice. Thus, the job of both the cooperating teacher and the college supervisor is to be an active listener, confidant and supportive mentor. (Of course it is not our jobs to do the work of or for the student teacher.)
Final Grading: Student Teachers
The college supervisor is responsible for the student teacher's final grade. The college supervisors may seek appropriate input from the cooperating teacher. All required work must be completed by the student teacher. The quality of work, however, determines the student teacher's final grade. The degree to which the student teacher develops a professional attitude and the degree to which the student teacher successfully acts upon constructive suggestions are essential criteria in evaluating the student teacher.
Final Evaluation/Recommendation Letters for Student Teachers:
- These letters must be typewritten.
- To be completed in narrative form near the end of the student teaching experience by the cooperating teacher and the college supervisor. (Though not required, it may be completed by the student teacher at the discretion of the college supervisor.)
- To be reviewed jointly among the cooperating teacher, the student teacher, and the college supervisor at the final evaluation conference near the end of the student teaching experience.
- Original copy of the cooperating teacher and college supervisor's final evaluations are to be give to the student teacher at the final evaluation conference.
- A second original copy of the cooperating teacher's and college supervisor's final evaluations are to be retained by the college supervisor to be submitted to the coordinator of field experience.
Final Letter for your student teacher, you may wish to consider the following:
- Your letter is a summary offered by the person who has and the most thorough and intimate knowledge and awareness of the student teacher. Thus, your letter can and should speak to and reflect the breadth of the total experience.
- Although typographical errors do indeed occur, every effort should be made to avoid them. This is a highly significant piece of professional paperwork, and it must convey its message in a thoroughly professional manner.
- In drafting your letter, reflect on the characteristics that you consider most valuable in an excellent teacher candidate and seek to address them. Some examples of research-based characteristics associated with excellent teacher candidates include: rapport with students, faculty, staff, peers and parents; knowledge of contemporary, research-based best practices; knowledge of content/subject matter; ability to combine theoretical awareness and content knowledge into meaningful learning opportunities; knowledge of Pennsylvania standards; accepts and reacts positively to suggestions, compliments and critiques; plans thoroughly, effectively and efficiently; welcomes and engages in learning opportunities/experiences outside the classroom; demonstrates professionalism in all aspects of the student teaching experience; exhibits enthusiasm, poise and flexibility; has the ability to adjust and adapt.
- Please consider providing as much contact information as possible when drafting this letter. A contact with you may well be the deciding factor in a potential employer's deliberations regarding your student teacher. If that employer is unable to contact you, your student teacher's candidacy may well be jeopardized.
- If an administrator or another teacher in your building conducted any type of observation, and if they are not planning to provide any documentation of that observation, consider referring to it with either a specific quote or a general statement.