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What to Expect From Your Student Teaching Experience

If you want to earn a teaching degree that can lead to teacher certification, you’ll have to spend time at the head of a classroom.

To be an elementary school teacher, you need proper training. For most, that begins with the courses in an education degree program. But classroom learning isn’t enough. To become a teacher capable of success—and capable of meeting the requirements for teacher certification in most states—you need to spend time in an actual elementary school classroom

Known as student teaching or demonstration teaching, your experience in a real classroom will give you the opportunity to observe a professional teacher in action and, ultimately, apply the teaching strategies you’ve learned in your teaching degree coursework. While no two student teaching experiences are the same, most follow a similar demonstration teaching method.

What to Expect From Your Student Teaching Experience

For instance, if you’re earning a BS in Elementary Education from a program that prepares you for teacher licensure, you can expect that you will:

  • Partake in student teaching as the culminating experience of your education degree.
  • Be placed with or will have assistance in finding an elementary school teacher willing to share his or her classroom with you.
  • Participate in an orientation before entering the classroom.
  • Spend 12 full-time weeks in the classroom.
  • Observe your cooperating teacher at work.
  • Gradually assume teaching responsibilities.
  • Take full control of the classroom for four consecutive weeks.
  • Receive supervision and evaluation from faculty at your university and the cooperating teacher in your classroom.
  • Participate in weekly discussions about your experience with university faculty and other teaching students.
  • Complete an Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), an important step in qualifying you as classroom ready.

Throughout the student teaching experience, you can gain invaluable insights into the workings of real-world classrooms. To make the most of the experience, you should:

  • Follow all of your university guidelines.
  • Help your cooperating teacher with grading and anything else he or she may need.
  • Align your schedule with your cooperating teacher’s, so you are there when he or she is.
  • Work hard on your lesson plans and be prepared for some to fail.
  • Stay positive and remember that this is a learning experience.
  • Be flexible and ready to adjust lessons and schedules if it’s right for your classroom.
  • Enjoy it. You’re just a few steps away from becoming a professional teacher.

How Can You Find a Student Teaching Experience?

Since student teaching is typically the culminating experience of an education degree program, the best way to spend time as a student teacher is to earn a teaching degree. If you’re looking to teach in an elementary school, a BS in Elementary Education is a good choice. Worried you don’t have time for an elementary education degree? That’s a common concern, particularly among working adults. But there is a solution: online learning.

When you earn a BS in Elementary Education online, you don’t have to travel to campus and attend classes at preset—often inconvenient—times. Instead, an online teaching degree program will allow you to attend classes from anywhere with an internet connection, at whatever time of day works best for your schedule. Plus, when it’s time for your student teaching experience, an online learning program can often help you find a classroom in your community.

For working adults aspiring to become a certified teacher, online education can be an excellent choice.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Note on Licensure
Walden University is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching to offer the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education that leads to Minnesota licensure in elementary education (K–6). However, before Walden can recommend a candidate for teacher licensure, the candidate must also pass the required exams for Minnesota licensure adopted by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, undergo a Minnesota background check, and complete any other Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements beyond completion of Walden’s state-approved teacher preparation program.

Individuals interested in pursuing teacher licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify for a comparable license by virtue of completing the Walden Minnesota-approved teacher preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s teacher licensing regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. Prospective students seeking to be licensed in states other than Minnesota must research their state licensure requirements to determine (1) if they are required to complete a state-approved licensure program, and (2) if there are any other requirements that apply, especially requirements pertaining to programs provided by out-of-state (except Minnesota) or online institutions.

Individuals enrolling internationally must be supervised by a teacher with a valid U.S. state teaching license, in a school that follows a U.S.-based curriculum at the appropriate grade level for the license. Prospective students must check that the program is accepted for teaching credential in the state they intend to apply for licensure.

Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide general information on state licensure; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all licensure requirements in the state they wish to teach. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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