Many Connections. One U.

Student Teaching

EDUC 400/403 Syllabus


Students fulfill two seven-week student teaching sessions (in one or two placements).  Students are expected to gradually take on classroom responsibilities, assuming full responsibility for classes for at least one week per seven-week session (two to three weeks for a full semester).  Lesson plans for supervisor visits, ongoing journaling and portfolio development, and completion of a student work sampling study are some of the requirements of this semester.  By the end of the student teaching period, the student must demonstrate the skills and dispositions appropriate for a beginning teacher.


1.  Further clarify beliefs about yourself, your teaching and your philosophy of education (All 4 strands).

2.  Develop your understanding of effective planning, lesson delivery, student grouping, student assessment, and classroom management (C&I).

3.  Improve skills at understanding the needs, interests, and developmental levels of your students including at-risk students, students of different genders, ethnicities and abilities (Development; School and Society).

4.  Improve skills at designing and implementing expectations and instruction appropriate for different students (C&I; School and Society).

5.  Begin to consider deeply what students actually DO learn from instruction and how that relates to assessment, evaluation, and grading (C&I).

6.  Reflect on your own feelings and reactions to different students, consider the results of these reactions, and then identify how to improve interpersonal relationships (School and Society, Development).

7.  Begin to assume the rights and responsibilities as a professional member of the teaching community, including:

8.  Become aware of legal responsibilities of teaching and use that awareness to inform classroom decision making (School and Society).

9.  Articulate and practice what you need to do to insure your continued growth as a professional (Development).

10. Prepare and maintain an ongoing portfolio that documents your skills and growth (Development).

11. Demonstrate an ability to use research from the literature to inform your practice (Research, Development).

12. Demonstrate an ability to systematically study teaching through completion of a student work sampling project (Research).

13. Become aware of professional development opportunities for teachers, including professional organization memberships, mentoring for first year teachers, professional development schools, study groups, etc. (Development, School and Society).

My role as your supervisor:
Student teaching is the culmination of your initial education about teaching practice.  I will treat you as much as a fellow professional as a student.  This means much of the responsibility for learning, scheduling, coordinating and work completion will fall to you.  My job is to coach you in your placement(s) and to be a resource for you.  I will push you toward particular applications of learning, but you can also push me – or put me to use.  I can collect action research data for you, trouble-shoot lessons, and assist with curriculum design and so on.

Review your Student Teaching Handbook!


Grades for Student teaching are pass/fail.  You will be assessed in your progress toward mastery of program outcomes and your own learning goals.  You are expected to respond to your mentor’s and my comments, making changes to your practice as necessary.  You are expected to show evidence of growth throughout the term.  Unexplained absences, excessive absences, or little to no evidence of growth may result in failing the course.



During my initial visit, I will come by to introduce myself and see how things have started.  I will speak with both you and your mentor about the expectations each of us has of each other over the placement, your goals, and tentative timelines for your active involvement in the classroom.


Before each observation, it is your responsibility to call me the night before to review the context and lesson as well as your goals and/or areas of growth to focus on.  Be ready to ask that I observe something in particular about the lesson.  We will talk after each observation, some of the time with your cooperating teacher.  Ideally, we will meet that day; sometimes it might have to be one or two days later.

During these visits I will observe and question you.  I will take notes and ask you questions about what you did and why.  This does not mean that you are doing something wrong – effective teachers regularly reflect on their practice, think about what aspects of a particular lesson were effective or ineffective, to what extent students achieved the desired outcomes, and what alternative approaches might be needed for some or all students.  Ideally all of these meetings will be three-way conversations with your mentor teacher.  One of these visits will offer you a formative evaluation using the Student Teacher Evaluation Criteria.  I expect to see growth in your practice from one visit to the next, and I expect you to articulate that growth.

For each visit you need to have a lesson plan available when I walk in, along with a binder with lesson plans/reflections written since the last observation.


I may drop by, or you may want me to observe a particular lesson.  I will still request to see your plan, and I will take some notes, though these may be less extensive than for a more formal observation.


This will include a three-way conversation with your mentor teacher.  We will use the Student Teacher Evaluation Criteria as our guide for this conversation.  You will be expected to participate in evaluating your own practice according to these criteria by sharing YOUR completed copy of the evaluation form.

You Need To:
1.    Coordinate timing so your mentor can be present when we meet.
2.    Remind your mentor to complete the student teaching evaluation form before this visit, if possible.
3.     Complete your own copy of the student teaching evaluation form.


1.  Statement of Expectations and Timeline: Write a statement of expectations setting out explicitly what you expect of yourself, of your cooperating teacher, and of your university supervisor. Include in your expectations any specific experiences and responsibilities you would like to have, interests you would like to pursue, weaknesses you would like to address, and strengths you would like to develop. Work with your teacher to complete a timeline for the semester which should show when you plan to assume different responsibilities, including intensive teaching as well as your assessment project. These expectations should be discussed at your first three-way conference.

2.  Lesson Plans:  Lesson plans must be shared with your cooperating teacher BEFORE you teach each lesson.  Lesson plans should fulfill the requirements of the university and your cooperating teacher.  You should have lesson plans for each time you teach and reflect on each time you teach.  Lesson plans should be available for inspection each time I visit (see format below).

3.  Four to six documented visits:  Notify me ASAP if there is a change in school schedule, you are ill or other circumstances arise that will result in my not being able to observe.  You do not have to teach an entire period or be offering direct instruction for my visit to be worthwhile.

4.  Videotaping:  You are to videotape yourself at least two times this semester, once during each half of the semester, and write a one-page analysis of each.  This analysis should be a critical view of your teaching, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses you detect, along with ideas for improvements.

5.  Journal:  I expect you to journal regularly (via e-mail) but I expect an in depth thoughtfulness around important events/feelings/situations/dilemmas rather than a “Dear Diary” approach.  E-mail journal entries need to occur at least once a week about key events.  Use the below directions for journaling.

6.  Teacher Performance Assessment: Working with your seminar instructor, you should establish with your cooperating teacher the unit you will use for your TPA, collect permission slips for videotaping, and fulfill all the TPA requirements. I am available to help with various directions, review submissions, and give feedback.

7.  Notify me if you are going to miss school – email is fine unless it involves more than one day of absence or more than three days in the semester.  I assume you will be in contact with your mentor on a nearly continual basis.

This syllabus is subject to change to accommodate student and instructional needs.

The Center for Academic Success and First-Year Experience provides assistance and support for all students. Services include peer tutoring, individual consultation to assist students with achieving their academic goals, study skills materials, Writing Studio, and accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Academic Success services are located on the main floor of the University Library. Writing and math tutors are also available for BYOH (Bring Your Own Homework) Sunday through Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00a.m.-2:00 p.m. Call 314-529-9228 or email for more information. They provide accommodations and supports for students with documented disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience at 314.529.9374 as soon as possible.



A number of theorists and experts (Cruikshank, Dewey, Schon, Zeichner) indicate that various types of reflection become a way of knowing about our actions. This learning through reflection facilitates our decision making, and further reflection provides us with a feedback mechanism whereby we can continue to improve as teachers. The purpose of this Reflection Journal assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to reflect about your student-teaching experiences and to provide us with a means of “conversing” with you about those experiences.

You should make an entry in your Reflection Journal at least 2-3 times per week, using the format described below (Posner). The sooner you commit your reflections to paper, the better the quality your responses are likely to have. These logs can be emailed to me at once each week, and will all be returned to you afterwards.



Include the dates covered and your name.


An episode is an “event or sequence of events complete in itself, but forming a part of a larger one.” Select episodes that are significant to you because what happened excites you, causes you to rethink an initial idea, convinces you that your initial idea was valid, or bothers you. Whether the episode you report was a success or a failure, it is significant if you learned something important from it.

Once you pick an episode, describe it in detail. Reliving the experience will enable you to think about what you felt and thought during the episode, how you perceived the responses of the children and the teacher to your actions, and who or what contributed significantly to shaping the events.


State why the episode was important to you and how you interpret it. Write about what you accomplished, problems that emerged and how you followed up on them, and what you learned. This last point is the most important. You may have learned what works and what does not; if so, describe what you concluded. You may also have learned something about your philosophy of teaching (your perspective). Does the episode confirm your ideas or force you to reconsider them? Maybe some initial ideas you held rather dogmatically depend, to a large extent, on the situation in which you apply them. If so, what was it about the situation that affected the applicability of the ideas? Many experiences raise more questions than they answer. You might use your logs as an opportunity to note questions that arise during your student teaching that you want to discuss with your supervisor or bring up at a student-teaching seminar.

As I respond to your journals, I will be looking for comments which fall into one or more of the following three levels of reflection (Van Manen, Zeichner & Liston):
Technical Rationality – reflections on WHAT happened; focuses on events relying on personal experience and/or observations without due regard for a system or theory.
Practical Action or Contextual – reflections on WHY decisions were made; concerned with clarifying the assumptions and predispositions underlying competing pedagogical goals and with assessing the educational consequences toward which a teaching action leads.
Ethical or Critical Reflection – reflections on what SHOULD be; concerned with the worth of knowledge and the social circumstances useful to students.



These are some of the questions I will ask about your lesson in our pre-conference. Please be prepared to orally answer them.

1. General Background: What is the larger teaching unit of which this is part? Why are you teaching this?

2. What are the students to do? How are they to work with the content of the lesson? How will you respond to differences in kids or cultural issues? What kind of climate would you like to establish?

3. What are you going to do? What are your major responsibilities, and how do you see your role and behavior?

4. What do you want me (supervisor) to focus on during the observation?


LESSON PLAN: Written lesson plan required for each observation and whenever you teach a lesson.

This is merely a guide. You should use whatever format you are comfortable with. Basically I need to know what your goals are, what the students will do, what you will do, and what processes and content will be learned. One page should be sufficient.

1. Concepts/skills to be taught: What is it you are teaching? Big idea?

2. Goals/Objectives: What will the students do, and how do you know they are doing it? Not just behavior, but process and affective as well. List the appropriate GLE’s and, if appropriate, academic language.

3. Procedures: How will you teach? How will you get the children interested? What will you do? What will the children do? How will you help students to make relationships between what they are learning and what they already know? What specific questions will you use to provoke understanding and elicit critical thinking? How will you differentiate and consider classroom management? How will you wrap up the lesson?

4. Materials: What will you be using? Copies of handouts should be attached.

5. Assessment: How will you know the children have learned what you want them to learn? Include informal and formal.

6. Reflections: How did the lesson go?

A. What is working? For whom? Why?
B. What is not working? For whom? Why?
C. How does this reflection inform what you plan to do in the next lesson?

Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram icon Pinterest icon Google+ icon YouTube icon LinkedIn icon Contact icon