Elementary Education Clinical Experiences

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With the support of mentor teachers, administrators, and boundary-spanning University faculty, field experiences provide multiple opportunities for K-6 and K-8 teacher candidates to apply educational theory in diverse classroom settings.  Prior to student teaching, Elementary Education teacher candidates are required to successfully complete 200 hours of clinical experience and meet all expectations as outlined in the Educator Disposition Assessment.  The Student Teaching Internship consists of 70 full days in a Professional Development School (PDS).

General Timeline for Elementary Education Cohort Field Experiences

The Road to Certification requirements for Decision Point One must be met in order to enter Cohort I.  If a teacher candidate is entering Cohort I in the fall semester, all Decision Point One requirements must be met by January 15th.  If a teacher candidate is entering Cohort I in the spring semester, all Decision Point One requirements must by met by October 15th during the preceding semester.  Teacher candidates are advised to complete Praxis 1 during semester 2.

Cohort I Field Experience (ED 3055) typically occurs during semester 6.    The Cohort I teacher candidate will actively participate in building a positive learning environment, support literacy development in the classroom, and develop ongoing reflective practices by participating in a co-teaching instructional planning cycle.  In addition to syllabus requirements, teacher candidates must meet all expectations as outlined in the Educator Disposition Assessment.  The Educator Disposition Assessment is completed by Cohort faculty and incorporates Mentor feedback from the Field Experience Final Evaluations.

Cohort II Field Experience (ED 3080) typically occurs during semester 7.  The Cohort II teacher candidate will support student learning across all content areas through the use of effective instructional strategies and targeted feedback, actively reinforce the use of academic vocabulary, and refine reflective practices by closely analyzing student progress toward grade-level competencies.  In addition to syllabus requirements, teacher candidates must meet all expectations as outlined in the Educator Disposition Assessment.  The Educator Disposition Assessment is completed by Cohort faculty and incorporates Mentor feedback from the Field Experience Final Evaluations.

Student Teaching Internship (ED 4400) typically occurs during semester 8 and is a full-time internship.  While student teaching, Interns participate in a Student Teaching Seminar (ED 4500) and complete the New Hampshire Teacher Comprehensive Assessment of Performance (NH-TCAP).

Plymouth State University promotes a Co-Teaching Model for the Student Teaching Internship.  During Co-Teaching, both the Mentor Teacher and the Intern work together with groups of students: sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space.

While using a Co-Teaching Model, Interns gradually assume classroom responsibilities.  Below, please find a tentative schedule that Mentor Teachers and Interns can refer to for planning purposes.

  • Phase-In:  (Weeks 1 and 2)  During the phase-in period, the Intern demonstrates initiative and becomes familiar with students, the learning standards, and classroom expectations.  It is highly suggested that the Intern and Mentor Teacher discuss and create a weekly transition schedule indicating when the Intern will assume new responsibilities.  It is the Intern’s responsibility to demonstrate preparedness to co-teach without continuous direction from the mentor teacher.  
  • Move into Co-Teaching (Weeks 3, 4, 5, 6,)  The Intern will teach lessons in one or two subject areas increasing instructional responsibilities each week.  The Intern will continue to work closely with the Mentor Teacher as the Intern plans lessons and becomes more involved in all aspects of the teaching cycle (planning instruction, analyzing student work, revising instruction, removing barriers to ensure student success, etc).
  • The mid-term evaluation window is open during Weeks 7-8.  Mentor Teachers and co-evaluators will receive a link to the Student Teaching Internship Rubric from the Holmes Center.  The rubric is completed online in Taskstream.  Interns also complete a mid-term self-assessment.  Following completion of the evaluations, Mentor Teachers and Interns are encouraged to have a conversation about the ratings and comments from the mid-term evaluations. 
  • Full Co-Teaching across All Subject Areas: (Weeks 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) Full co-teaching means the Intern is the lead teacher and is responsible for planning and implementing all aspects of the curriculum including assessment for a minimum of three consecutive weeks.  Dates for the collaborative period will be determined in consultation with the Mentor Teacher and Intern.  During this time, it is extremely important that the Intern and the Mentor Teacher meet daily to discuss planning and student progress.  The Mentor Teacher remains a co-teacher, but the Intern will have full responsibility for planning, implementation, assessment, and classroom management.
  • Phase-Out (Weeks 14, 15)  During the final weeks of your student teaching, the Intern will develop a phase-out plan with the Mentor Teacher.  The Intern is still expected to be an active participant in all aspects of classroom life as well as the school community.  
  • The final evaluation window is open during Weeks 13-15.  Mentor Teachers and co-evaluators will receive a link to the Student Teaching Internship Rubric from the Holmes Center.  The rubric is completed online in Taskstream.  Interns also complete a final self-assessment.  Following completion of the evaluations, Mentor Teachers and Interns are encouraged to have a conversation about the ratings and comments from the final evaluations.

As a Mentor Teacher, who should I contact if I have questions?

Please contact Susan Sabella, Coordinator of Early Field Experiences, if you have a question related to Cohort I or Cohort II Field Experiences.  Also, contact Susan if you have a question that is related to Intern expectations during the Student Teaching Internship.  Susan can be reached at ssabella@plymouth.edu.

Please contact Brian Walker, Coordinator of Clinical Experiences and School Partnerships, if you have a logistical question related to the Student Teaching Internship: particularly, completing the Student Teaching Internship Rubric online, co-evaluating procedures, internship compensation, or becoming a partner school.  Brian Walker can be reached at bfwalker@plymouth.edu.

The Holmes Center and Elementary Education faculty work as a team to build sustainable partnerships within Professional Development School Districts (PDSD).  As a result of this collaborative effort, the Elementary Education program is able to provide diverse placements throughout the Cohort experience.