Field Experience School Based Educators
The classroom teacher mentoring the candidate should:
- Meet with the candidate at the beginning of the placement to discuss expectations, review the evaluation process, and design a meaningful and comprehensive experience.
- Design the experience to support achievement of the learning outcomes as outlined on the field experience evaluation form.
- Provide the time and opportunity for the candidate to complete tasks assigned by the college professor.
- Establish a supportive environment for the candidate.
Help the candidate become acquainted with the district, school, and classroom rules and introduce the candidate to the administrators, staff, teachers, parents, and students.
- Observe the candidate, giving immediate and specific feedback, both written and verbal. Offer constructive suggestions for improvement and growth, and model the desired behavior.
- Recognize that the candidate is a novice; allow for the candidate to discover his or her own strengths and areas for future growth and offer guidance on instruction and assessment.
- Complete the evaluation form and review it with the candidate at the end of the field experience. The form must be completed promptly to ensure that the candidate receives a fair and comprehensive evaluation and grade assignment for the placement
- Alert the Director of Field Experiences and Student Teaching immediately should any difficulties develop.
Designing the Field Experience
The candidate and the SBE should meet at the beginning of the placement to design the field experience using the Field Experience Handbook and the evaluation form. During this first meeting, they should create a long-range plan for the experience and establish a set schedule to complete the hours and tasks required. This plan should be reviewed periodically for necessary modifications.
Introducing the Candidate to the School Community
The candidate needs to feel comfortable in the professional community of the school. The SBE can use the checklist below as a guide to working with the candidate.
- Introductions to other faculty/staff members
- Parent nights, open houses and faculty, department, and committee meetings, etc.
- Duties (bus, hallway supervision, lunch supervision, etc.)
- Computer accounts, lunch accounts, and parking pass information
- Map and/or tour of the building to show where students or candidates need to go (i.e. office, copy room, lavatory, library, gym, lunchroom, etc.)
School Policies and Procedures
- Student Handbook (discipline and attendance policies, writing passes, etc.)
- Teacher Handbook (classroom policies regarding discipline, attendance, grading, passes, emergency procedures, fire drills, school nurse procedures, universal precautions, etc.)
- District guidelines for confidential information (student records, parent conferences, Committee, Special Education (CSE) meetings)
Classroom Policies and Procedures
- Class list, seating chart, daily schedule, etc.
- Classroom rules and management plan (discipline referral procedures)
- Recording absent and tardy students
- Writing hall passes
- Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans and their impact on classroom instruction
- Emergency and fire drill procedures
- Media center, computer labs, and technology coordinators
- Computer use expectations
- District and school Web sites
- State standards for the course or grade level
- Appropriate instructional materials (text books, workbooks, and supplemental materials)
- Lesson plan expectations (be sure the candidate knows the contextual knowledge before lessons are taught)
- Accepted formats for daily, weekly, and long-range planning used in the building and district
- Community resources to enhance instruction
Community and Student Needs
- General socioeconomic and cultural background of student population
- After-school student activities and opportunities for candidate involvement
- Parent involvement in the school (expectations to communicate and work with parents)
- Allergies or specific health/participation restrictions of any students
- Responsibilities to special needs students in class
- Student reading levels and available support
Adapted from Indiana University, Purdue University, Fort Wayne “Student Teaching Handbook” revised 7/05
It is important for a candidate to receive and implement feedback. Every professional’s performance is evaluated in some way. It is imperative that a candidate be provided the opportunity to receive this type of feedback from the start. More importantly, feedback lays the groundwork for the improvement of teaching skills. An SBE who can provide specific feedback helps a candidate reach his/her full potential.
Recognize the need to give constructive feedback to the candidate. Many individuals view feedback only in negative terms, as criticism rather than a means for improvement. Candidates are no exception. If a positive relationship has been established between the SBE and the candidate, then performance feedback will more likely be viewed as constructive. SBEs must provide feedback that is focused and constructive rather than critical of the candidate as a person.
Base feedback on observation. An SBE’s feedback should be based on direct observation of the candidate. The observation and feedback needed varies greatly among candidates. SBEs and candidates benefit from frequent observations at the beginning of the experience. As the candidate becomes more accustomed to the demands of the grade level, and the SBE feels more confident in the candidate’s ability, the number of observations can gradually be reduced.
Give honest appraisal of teaching performance. Many SBEs are hesitant to give feedback or to say anything critical, fearing that the candidate will be discouraged. However, feedback is important to correct habits or teaching behaviors that can lead to failure. The SBE must be honest with the candidate and not hesitate to give a true appraisal of the performance, even if it is negative. Candidates are novice teachers who need guidance from experienced teachers. The SBE should be diplomatic, balancing negative feedback with positive feedback. It is also important for the SBE to tell the candidate whatever he or she is doing well, to give praise when it is due, and to commend innovation and creativity.
Target areas for growth that are closely associated with areas of strength. As candidates work to refine their skills, SBEs should identify one or two areas to fine-tune, based on the learning outcomes outlined in the field experience evaluation. Skills closely associated with the candidate’s areas of strength should be targeted first. As each new skill is acquired, the candidate should begin work on another.
Provide a variety of feedback. Feedback should not be limited to specific times or ways. It is important to be familiar with the evaluation form to address all areas. Formative feedback—brief comments throughout the day—is valuable. Share feedback privately with the candidate. A sample observation form is available on page 17.
In addition to frequent feedback and formal observations, an effective policy is to meet during each visit. This time might be used for joint planning, feedback, and to discuss other issues of mutual benefit. Provide both written and verbal feedback.