Chapter V: Program Admissions/Student Teaching

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Application Process

Students are officially admitted at student teaching. You will receive an email offering you formal admission into the UTeach program. You must respond to the email, stating your acceptance into ( or rejection of) the UTeach Program and student teaching.

Applying for student teaching

OCTOBER 1st deadline spring student teachers, and March 1st deadline, fall student teachers:
To Apply for student teaching:

  • Create a TEAL Account: https://secure.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOnline/TEAL_End_User_Training_ECOS.pdf
  • Apply for Student Teaching on the COE website PDS Application: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/education/edservices/fieldexperiences/ Note: You DO NOT have to see your advisor before you apply to student teach.
  • Send your TEA ID Number (that you get from completing #1 above) to Pamela Powell (ppowell@austin.utexas.edu)
  • Complete the Orientation Information Form on the UTeach website: https://apps.uteach.utexas.edu
  • You will need to complete the application (PDS Application) from the College of Education by the deadline. It is located at: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/fieldexp/PDS_Application.php (link on the left hand menu). Please note that you are not responsible for completing any essays.

NOTE: All Student Teachers will have to pass a thorough Criminal Background Check prior to Student Teaching. Any criminal activity may prevent you from participating in Student Teaching and you may need to alter your degree plan if you wish to complete your degree from UT Austin without completing certification requirements.

STUDENT TEACHING SEMESTER

The student teaching experience is a five-hour a day minimum field commitment (25 hours per week) where you will teach two courses autonomously. Your first day in the public schools is the Monday AFTER the first week of UT classes for the semester. During the first week of UT classes for the semester you ONLY attend the evening seminar. Once in the schools - The first week in the schools is observational, the second week you begin teaching the first of two classes, the third week you begin teaching the second of two classes and retain those courses until the last UT class day. This is the ideal schedule, but can be adjusted for individual constraints.

The student teaching seminar meets in Painter on the fourth floor from 6 – 7:30 p.m. once a week. The seminar will be on Wednesday evenings throughout the semester. You will need to sign up for both the pass/fail student teaching class (EDC 651S STU TCH SEC SCH: SCIENCE if you are a science student EDC 651S STU TCH SEC SCH: MATHEMATICS if you are a math or computer science student) AND the one hour graded seminar class (UTS 170 Student Teaching Seminar – SCIENCE if you are a science student and MATH if you are a mathematics or computer science student) for a total of 7 hours. These classes have restricted enrollment and only students who have attended an orientation, have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a passing score on their preliminary portfolio will be allowed to take the courses.

A passing score on the PRELIMINARY PORTFOLIO is required prior to student teaching. Deadlines vary, so check the portfolio page. Usually, the deadline in the fall semester is close to the Thanksgiving break and toward the beginning of April in the spring semester. The deadline is firm. Missing it may mean delaying your student teaching semester for a least a semester. External evaluators review portfolios and results will be sent to you by the last week of class

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Complete all of your coursework before Apprentice Teaching, or complete your coursework in the summer. Taking a course in the summer can affect your ability for a school district to hire you since school districts start before university summer coursework officially ends. Even taking a first summer session course limits your employment opportunities since those grades do not officially post until the END of the summer. You must complete a formal appeal and be approved to take any courses while student teaching.

There may be scholarship opportunities that allow you to devote your time exclusively to student teaching during the semester. Please talk with an Academic Advisor in PAI 4.02 about these. The AISD Scholarship is a wonderful monetary opportunity for all students who have at least a 2.5 GPA. There is no teaching commitment for this scholarship; in a sense it is FREE MONEY to help support you during the semester. You will have clothing and traveling expenses during student teaching and this monetary opportunity is a wonderful way to help off set these expenses. Sign the very short application in PAI 4.02 by the deadline to receive these funds. The money is released after the 12th class day of the semester.

Please take a look at the following websites for more information about student teaching:
https://austin.uteach.utexas.edu/certifications-and-degrees/professionaldevelopment-sequence/apprentice-teaching
https://austin.uteach.utexas.edu/current-students/current-apprentice-teachers

RESPONSIBILITIES

Everyone involved in the student teaching program--you, your cooperating teacher, your university facilitator--has well-defined responsibilities. We want to do everything we can to make certain that these expectations are met so that everyone enjoys a positive experience. If you have concerns about your student teaching experience, you should make them known to your cooperating teacher and your university facilitator. You should also contact Pamela Powell or Kelly Allen, your student teaching coordinator at powell@uteach.utexas.edu or allen@uteach.utexas.edu if you have concerns that may require additional assistance. Of course, all of your concerns will be kept confidential.

The teachers and mentors associated with student teaching are highly professional and competent. But unforeseen problems may arise from time to time, and it is important that you let someone know about your concerns so that they can be dealt with right away. Do not wait until the end of the semester to seek assistance with a lingering problem or misunderstanding.

Responsibilities of Student Teacher​

  1. Meet the principal and assistant principal and become familiar with the school climate and culture.
  2. Know and follow the rules, regulations, and policies of the school. This includes the use of any confidential information you may obtain through student records, conversations, etc. Uphold school safety standards and understand school emergency response procedures.
  3. Maintain an ethical and professional attitude toward all members of the school community. In part, this means holding in confidence your personal opinions about people with whom you interact (students, teachers, staff, parents, and administrators). Read and sign an agreement to abide by the Texas Administrative Code 247, Educators Code of Ethics (http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=19&pt= 7&ch=247&rl=Y). Also included at the end of this handbook.
  4. Recognize and accept that the cooperating teacher has the ultimate responsibility for what you may or may not do in the classroom.
  5. Make yourself available for regular planning and feedback sessions with your cooperating teacher and university facilitator.
  6. Make adequate lesson plans in advance of teaching assignments and share copies with the cooperating teacher and university facilitator. Make revisions as recommended by your cooperating teacher, and obtain final approval prior to lesson implementation.
  7. Attend all required student teaching and related seminars.
  8. Dress in a professional manner.
  9. Assess your growth as a teacher throughout the semester.
  10. Integrate technology-learning tools to enhance instruction and learning, and to support your own pre-professional growth.
  11. Demonstrate professionalism through punctuality and accurate, courteous communication.

Responsibilities of Cooperating Teacher

  1. In all interactions, treat the student teacher as a professional.
  2. Introduce the student teacher to the class on the first day of attendance. 
  3. Acquaint the student teacher with materials and resources available in the school on the first day or soon thereafter.
  4. Require lesson plans from the student teacher in advance of the actual teaching. Review these plans carefully, recommend revision as needed, and approve final plans prior to implementation.
  5. Allow the student teacher to assume responsibilities as soon as the student teacher exhibits the readiness to do so. Early in the semester, work with your student teacher to develop a Student Plan to pace and scaffold increasing teaching responsibilities.
  6. Encourage the student teacher to be creative and to try new teaching strategies.
  7. Require lesson plans from the student teacher in advance of the teaching assignments.
  8. Conduct regular cooperative planning sessions with the student teacher. There should be one session at the beginning of the semester followed by weekly and/or daily sessions.
  9. Observe the student teacher teaching on a regular basis and provide a written copy of your observation to both the student teacher and university facilitator.
  10. Provide an organized feedback session for each observation (in addition to incidental observations and remarks) and provide the student teacher and university facilitator with a written summary of the feedback session.
  11. Complete two student teaching evaluation forms, the Formative Assessment at mid-semester and the Summative Assessment at the end of the semester. Cite specific examples of the observed behaviors as supporting evidence and submit the form electronically. Discuss each evaluation with the student teacher. At mid-semester, concrete suggestions for improvement should be identified and then communicated in writing to all parties involved.

Responsibilities of University Facilitator

  1. Assist in the placement of student teachers, as specified by the Director of Education Services or the UT coordinator.
  2. Provide an orientation meeting for all student teachers under your supervision. Provide and/or attend an orientation for your cooperating teachers.
  3. Conduct a minimum of three student teaching seminars. Establish equitable procedures for scheduling observations and conferences.
  4. Review the Student Plan for appropriate pacing and scaffolding of broad planning and teaching experiences to promote increasing self-directions and competence. Provide guidance to both the student teacher and cooperating teacher with respect to the pacing of experiences and steady development of the student teacher’s professional competencies.
  5. Observe each student teacher on a regular basis and provide the student teacher and the cooperating teacher with a written account of your observations.
  6. Monitor the progress of each student teacher and maintain regular communication with each cooperating teacher.
  7. Conduct an individual feedback session for each observation made and provide the student teacher and cooperating teacher with a written summary of the results.
  8. Help student teachers with any problems that may arise in their student teaching assignments. If problems arise contact Pamela Powell or Kelly Allen, your student teaching coordinator at powell@uteach.utexas.edu or allen@uteach.utexas.edu.
  9. Conduct a three-way mid-term and final three-way conference with the cooperating teacher and student teacher to discuss the evaluation of the student teacher.
  10. Complete the Formative Assessment at mid-semester and the Summative Assessment at the end of the semester. Cite specific examples of observed behaviors as supporting evidence. Discuss each evaluation with the student teacher. At mid-semester, concrete suggestions for improvement should be identified and then communicated in writing to the student teacher and cooperating teacher.
  11. Keep a file of memos, announcements, and all communication pertaining to the responsibilities of a university facilitator. Maintain communications by checking your e-mail and telephone messages daily and responding promptly. The university facilitator must be available for communications and meet deadlines.
  12. Communicate with your coordinator on a regular basis to ensure that you are both up-to-date on your student teacher’s progress in the schools.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Your student teaching assignment has been made with much care and attention to the suitability of your placement. Changes in assignments are not made after student teaching begins except in highly unusual circumstances. If you experience what seem to be insurmountable problems with your placement, please notify your facilitator at once. 

It is important for you to recognize that you are a guest in the school, and that your cooperating teacher bears the responsibility of determining what is best for her or his students. It is up to the classroom teacher to determine what responsibilities you will assume and when. If you demonstrate competence, responsibility, and tact, you will likely have many opportunities to begin teaching early in your experience and to try innovative teaching strategies. If you experience any problems, be sure to inform your university facilitator as soon as possible.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY

As a student teacher, you are entitled to the same protection of law accorded to the cooperating teacher and the principal in the school where you are assigned. This protection does not apply in cases where there is use of excessive force in the discipline of students or negligence resulting in bodily injury to students. Nor does the protection apply to the operation or use of any motor vehicle.

The University has not provided you with liability insurance and you may want to look into insurance coverage offered by organizations such as ATPE and TCTA. This means that in the weeks before Total Teach, you should not be left alone on a regular basis with your class for extended periods of time (small pull-out groups are fine). In addition, you should not be left alone on a playground or field trip with a group of students without a licensed teacher within “shouting distance.” These rules are for your own protection and it is important that you alert your university facilitator immediately if they are being violated.

If you have been approved as a substitute teacher in the district in which you are student teaching, you are protected with liability insurance by the school district on days you serve as a substitute. However, it is still recommended that you consider the purchase of additional health and liability coverage.

Different school districts have different policies when it comes to permitting student teachers to serve as substitutes. Make certain that you understand what your district’s particular policies are before you get involved in what could be a “sticky” situation. When in doubt, check with your university facilitator.

CALENDAR

University regulations require that all instructors follow the University Course Schedule as printed unless all students in a given course agree at the beginning of the semester to a modified schedule. There may be times when the University has a holiday and the schools are in session. You cannot be required to attend your student teaching assignment on these days. However, for many of you this break in your contact with the classroom could interfere with a sequence of instruction. In these cases, you may wish to proceed with your student teaching. If you do take the University holiday, then you are required to provide the cooperating teacher with lesson plans for these days so that your absence will not be detrimental to the children. For those days on which the school district has a holiday and the University is in session, your university facilitator may require you to attend sessions on campus. No student teachers will be excused on these days. If the school or school district is conducting inservice sessions on staff development days, then you are expected to attend these sessions unless your university facilitator notifies you that the school district or campus principal has specifically indicated that student teachers should not attend. 

ABSENCES

Perfect attendance during student teaching is expected. If you must be absent, you will need to contact both your cooperating teacher and your university facilitator as soon as possible. Days that you miss will be made up at the end of the practicum and student teaching experiences unless your university facilitator approves another arrangement. Student teachers are responsible for preparation, planning, teaching and debriefing during school days. Student teachers should plan to mirror their cooperating teachers' hours as closely as possible. Lateness is inexcusable.

If you are scheduled to teach on a day that you will be absent, you should send lesson plans and/or materials to the school for your cooperating teacher. Failure to notify the specified individuals in the case of an absence may result in the termination of your assignment. It is the responsibility of each student to notify your university facilitator and cooperating teacher, in advance, that you will be absent from class on a religious holiday and to receive, in advance, their approval for scheduling make-up time and work. 

Absences are to be made up. If you request an absence to attend an out-of-town job interview, then you must make-up the absence. If you are absent because of illness, then you are expected to make up the absence. Arrangements for making up absences are to be made in consultation with your university facilitator. If at any time, in the judgment of your university facilitator and/or cooperating teacher, your absences are excessive, your assignment may be terminated.

STUDENT TEACHING EVALUATION

A copy of the student teacher Summative Assessment form will be given to you at the start of the semester. This form will be completed by both your University facilitator and cooperating teacher at the end of the semester. You should become familiar with this form and seek feedback from your university facilitator and cooperating teacher throughout the semester with respect to the categories included.

At the end of the semester, you will review these evaluation forms and submit them electronically. Your signature indicates that you have reviewed the forms, not that you necessarily agree with them.

You can usually expect that the evaluation by your university facilitator will vary somewhat from that of the cooperating teacher. They will have seen you at different times doing different things so they likely may develop some different impressions. 

OUTSIDE RESPONSIBILITIES

Outside activities (e.g., employment, sports, sororities, fraternities) should be held to a minimum during student teaching. During this period of time, your first responsibility is to the students you teach. Outside responsibilities should not interfere with your student teaching responsibilities.

WORDS TO THE WISE

  1. Instructional materials prepared using supplies provided by the school usually remain with the school at the completion of the student teaching assignment. If you know that you will want to keep some of the instructional materials for your own future use, check with your school's policy and then decide whether you will want to purchase the necessary supplies yourself.
  2. Administering medicine to your students is not permitted at any time. Even if your cooperating teacher gives you the 'go ahead', you must decline and cite University policy as your reason for doing so.
  3. Corporal punishment (even in the mildest form) is not permitted at any time. Be very careful of the ways in which you touch your students, especially when you become angry or frustrated.
  4. Do not drive your own car to take students on a field trip or to deliver them anywhere away from campus. You could be legally liable for any accidents or injuries.
  5. Make sure to make healthy choices about your diet, exercise, and rest. It is critical that you take care of yourself during student teaching so that you may meet the rigorous demands that the semester imposes.
  6. Should you be asked to substitute for your cooperating teacher during student teaching, contact your university facilitator immediately. Students will be allowed to substitute for their own cooperating teacher only and on a very limited basis with the following conditions: A) they must be registered and have completed training with the district’s substitute office, and B) prior authorization for substituting must be secured in agreement with the university facilitator, cooperating teacher, campus principal, and the student.
  7. Grading papers only for the subjects you are teaching is a practice you are encouraged to follow during student teaching. If you are experiencing pressure from your cooperating teacher to grade papers of students with whom you do not work, you should notify your university facilitator immediately.
  8. Writing lesson plans during class time is not permitted during times when students are in the classroom. When you are not teaching, you should observe your cooperating teacher and/or monitor your students as they work.
  9. First impressions are extremely important in the public schools. Dress like a professional at all times. This is not to suggest that you have to purchase an expensive wardrobe. It is advisable; however, that you ask about the dress code and observe what the faculty members are wearing and then dress accordingly. Some districts provide written dress codes for teachers on district Web sites or in faculty handbooks. Good grooming is part of the professional image you create.

A FINAL WORD

You now must accept the responsibility of completing this important experience successfully. Give it your best effort. What you do during your student teaching will become the beginning of your professional record of accomplishments. Be sure to communicate with both your cooperating teacher and the university facilitator at all times. If you encounter any serious problem, talk to someone and correct the problem. Be sure to abide by the Code of Ethics on the following pages. If you think that it would be helpful to obtain assistance from another professional, then get in touch with Pamela Powell or Kelli Allen, powell@uteach.utexas.edu or allen@uteach.utexas.edu PAI 4.02 or 512-232-2770.