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EDU 4291
Student Teaching


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The Student Teacher's Responsibilities:

As a new member of a professional community, student teachers assume a variety of professional obligations and responsibilities.  These are well-detailed in the Student Teaching Handbook updated and distributed annually by Villanova University's Department of Education and Human Services.

As student teachers look forward to and prepare for their student teaching semester, they should fulfill the following responsibilities.

At their first opportunity, student teachers should obtain a copy of the Faculty Handbook and acquaint themselves with the procedures, rules, and regulations that apply to the faculty of the school in which they are working.  Student teachers should also familiarize themselves with other official documents (e.g., calendar). It is absolutely imperative that the student teacher be acquainted with the procedure that is followed if one must be absent due to illness.

In particular, it is expected that student teachers:

  • comport themselves as professionals (i.e., in word, action, dress, appearance, etc.)
  • exhibit promptness and punctuality in meeting one's responsibilities and obligations
  • recognize and act congruent with their new status (i.e., they are not their students' peers)
  • seek advice from their cooperating educator and Villanova supervisor on a regular and routine basis

For their part, students respect teachers who are honest, well-prepared, consistent, fair, and firm. As student teachers serve as role models for their students, student teachers will exhibit good manners, habits, and behavior, presenting the best possible image to the youth with whom they are working.

As the primary purpose of student teaching is to begin learning how to teach, student teachers focus primarily on instructional matters.  Student teachers accomplish this  as they fulfill their instructional responsibilities.  These include:

  • preparing complete, concise, daily lesson plans
  • applying teaching techniques based on sound learning principles
  • submitting and discussing lesson plans with the Cooperating Educator prior to presenting the lesson
  • developing unit plans, when appropriate, and submitting and discussing them with the cooperating educator prior to presenting the unit
  • complying with all reasonable requests made by the Cooperating Educator
  • learning about their students
  • making seating charts and learning their students' names
  • maintaining ethical interpersonal relationships with their students

By fulfilling these primary responsibilities, student teachers become an integral part of the instructional staff at their respective schools and contribute to the educational programs in which they participate. In addition, student teachers also accept any and all responsibilities assigned and commensurate with the teaching role. Typically, these include:

  • participating in in-service conferences and parent conferences
  • attending meetings designated by the Cooperating Educator
  • assisting with all routine school activities
  • attending PTA meetings
  • accepting supervisory duties (e.g., cafeteria duty, hall duty, etc.)
  • participating in extra-curricular activities (e.g., coaching athletic teams, organizing/sponsoring field trips, involvement in plays and/or show, clubs, academic teams)

By fulfilling these primary responsibilities, student teachers become an integral part of the instructional staff at their respective schools and contribute to the educational programs in which they participate.

An important note about absence...

To this point in one's education, one has not for the most part had to worry about a justifiable absence from class because an absence normally did not negatively impact others in the classroom. But now, in the role of a classroom teacher, others—especially one's students, colleagues, and administrators—are depending on the student teacher to be present in school each and every day.

Thus, one transition confronting student teachers as they begin the experience involves learning to move beyond excessive preoccupation with oneself and one's needs by becoming aware that, because of one's professional responsibilities and obligations, one must oftentimes think of others first...even when one is sick and in those very few instances where a personal matter may come to the fore.

Any absence, whether justifiable or not, negatively impacts others. The hallmark of a professional is remaining vigilant about how one's behavior impacts others, especially when one needs to focus upon oneself and one's needs. Consequently, student teachers are expected to be present every school day during the student teaching experience. In the most unlikely of circumstances that a student teacher is not able to be present in school, that individual must consult with several individuals before making a final decision about not showing up at school.

First: the student teacher must contact and speak directly with the Cooperating Educator and make sure that this individual is able to and prepared to cover for the student teacher.

Second: the student teach must speak with the school administrator who is responsible for overseeing the faculty. This may be the vice principal, the principal, or the headmaster.

In no instance should a student teacher leave a voice mail or email message for either the Cooperating Educator or the administrator responsible for overseeing the faculty.

Third: once the student teacher has spoken directly with and cleared an absence with the Cooperating Educator and administrator responsible for overseeing the faculty, the student teach must contact the Villanova supervisor either by telephone, voice mail, or email.

By preparing for and keeping these responsibilities in mind, student teachers ensure that they have laid the foundation for an excellent student teaching experience.