The first step in a student teacher’s experiential learning journey is completing a clinical experience or observation in the classroom. Faculty work with the STEP Office to place students in classrooms. Students are paired up or grouped to observe the classroom of cooperating teachers.
Teacher Candidate/Clinical Intern
The teacher candidate, referred to as a student teacher/clinical intern, is a college student who has met all the prerequisites and works under the guidance of a certified teacher in a Professional Development School (PDS) or an approved setting. It is important for her/him to understand and embrace the mission and conceptual framework of the College, as well as, understand the philosophy, culture, and programs of the school in which s/he is placed. The clinical intern has a responsibility to look upon the culminating clinical practice as fertile ground to observe, and learn the art and science of teaching from all members of the school’s learning community.
The clinical intern is expected to:
- Be responsible for transportation to and from the culminating field placement. The College cannot arrange transportation for the student;
- Inform the school nurse of any physical health issues;
- Follow the school district’s calendar. The College assigns the first and last day of student teaching/internship;
- Attend school daily and report to school on time. If illness prevents the student teacher/clinical intern from being at school, s/he must notify the school,cooperating teacher and TCNJ supervisor as early as possible and provide lesson plans.
- Meet with the cooperating teacher in advance of the clinical field practice to discuss roles and responsibilities;
- Dress in accordance with the professional standards established by the school; (Business attire is always acceptable. No T-shirts, tank tops, flips flops, or baring midriff tops. Body art and tattoos should not be exposed);
- Demonstrate professionalism in all interactions with school staff and all matters of confidentiality;
- Familiarize herself/himself with district policies and regulations which might include sexual harassment, intimidation & bullying, substance abuse, discipline and fire drills;
- Attend faculty meetings, parent conferences, school board meetings, when appropriate;
- Attend the College’s scheduled student teacher/intern workshops and familiarize herself/himself with the technological services and/or instructional materials available in the school. Any electronic communication, i.e., email and texting, to students and parents should be done only with the approval of the cooperating teacher and using school district assigned email or TCNJ email; Personal internet and other technological applications should reflect ethical language;
- Observe many different teaching situations and note instructional strategies and classroom management techniques used by the teacher(s);
- Develop written lesson plans in advance of instruction and discuss with the cooperating teacher and/or supervisor;
- Discuss with the cooperating teacher a timetable to assume responsibility for the classroom, including planning and teaching lessons/unit, and evaluating students’ work. The suggested timelines on pages 10-12 should be used as a guide for the transition of lead instruction. (Note: these timelines are suggestive; they should be modified as necessary).
- Teach in all content areas (elementary education majors) and work with learners of all abilities;
- Be adventurous and practice new ideas and approaches within a supportive environment;
- Practice self-reflection and self-evaluation continually to refine and improve practice;
- Follow the exit procedures and capstone course requirements that synthesizes all course work and prepares her/him for induction into the profession, as well as, preparation of a comprehensive portfolio tied to the conceptual framework; and
- Follow the direction of the cooperating teacher and the school districts’ policies and regulations.