The student teaching experience provides pre-service teachers the space and opportunity to learn how to ask important questions about teaching and learning, come to know children and adolescents by observing and interacting with them consistently over time, apply newly acquired knowledge, theories, strategies and models in a variety of contexts within and across classrooms, and experiment with, design and adapt practice according to learners' needs.
During the student teaching experience, pre-service teachers are guided and instructed by two key individuals - the cooperating or mentor teacher and university supervisor. While both work collaboratively to support the growth and development of the student teacher, each assumes a very specific role.
For most certification areas, student teaching is comprised of two related but separate processes.
Each student teacher is assigned a field supervisor. This is typically an experienced teacher who is selected by the university to provide support, guidance and feedback to the student teacher over the course of the student teaching term. Supervisors visit and observe student teachers in their classrooms several times during the placement period. While the number of observations required may vary from program to program, the Teacher Education Policy Committee at Teachers College and the Office of Teacher Education strongly and unanimously recommend a minimum of three observations per student teaching experience. Supervisors will want to observe student teachers working with children/students in a variety of grouping configurations, subject areas and at different times of the day and week. Supervisors also meet with student teachers prior to each observation so lesson plans and instructional decisions can be reviewed and discussed, and they document and discuss their observations with the student teacher after each classroom visit as part of the feedback and assessment process. As liaisons between TC and the field, supervisors are key to student teachers’ ability to integrate and apply all they are learning with/to their practice.
Although different programs have different emphases and specific requirements, the expectations below represent general expectations across Teachers College Teacher Education programs. As the forum for integrating and applying knowledge, skills and dispositions acquired through your program, student teaching should enable you to:
To better understand how most programs evaluate your progress toward these goals, please explore our College-Wide Student Teaching Evaluation Form.
You are expected to complete all program and college requirements in a satisfactory and professional manner. Students who do not satisfactorily meet all program and college expectations and standards cannot be recommended for certification. While teaching is not for everyone and candidates may decide during their program or student teaching experience to consider different career options, the overwhelming majority of student teachers at Teachers College successfully complete their programs and achieve certification. We have every confidence in your ability to become a thoughtful, skillful and caring educator, and faculty and supervisors alike will strive to give you the support you need to meet the highest standards.
**Please note that all information on this page is meant to give general guidance to student teachers. Consult your programs for more accurate and specific information related to your program.