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Student Teaching FAQ’s

How do I load my documents into LiveText?

All student teachers are asked to follow the attached directions to create LiveText file where they can attach all documentation (fingerprints, TB results, subcerts, HIB, Child Abuse and other forms for districts). You will need to have a LiveText Login to access the database. If you do not have a login, please email Mr. Corey Drake at drakec1@tcnj.edu.

It is essential that you follow the directions exactly as written.  Please remember to name your documents as instructed in the instructions. Documents that are not properly named cannot be viewed by the office.

I just learned that I need to apply to student teach for the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 semester. Is it too late to apply? What do I need to do

It is not too late to apply to student teach for the upcoming school year. However, you want to be expeditious in submitting your online application and documentation in LiveText. For more information on what you need to do, click on the Student Teaching Orientation at the bottom of our homepage. Click on the link for the powerpoint presentation and the handout on how to apply. Submit your hardcopy documents to your program coordinator for approval to student teach. The department will send your application once approved. As soon as you submit your documents to your Program Coordinator upload them to LiveText (Resume, Transcript, TB results, Fingerprinting and Criminal Background Check, subcert (if you have one), and other required documents for specific districts. 

If you still have questions after reviewing the PowerPoint, handout and these FAQs, reach out to your Program Coordinator first before meeting with Dr. Fulford in the STEP Office.

I wasn’t able to make the Student Teaching Orientation Session. How do I get the information?

If you were not able to make the orientation session for your department, try to attend another session. These are listed at the bottom of our homepage, every Fall. The information is general to all student teachers, so you can attend any session. If you still aren’t able to attend one of the other sessions or none is being offered, then review the PowerPoint that is posted on our website and the handout instructions. Your program coordinator will send the office an approved application and we will seek a placement for you.  If you still have questions after first reviewing the PowerPoint, handout and these FAQs, please reach out to your Program Coordinator before meeting with Dr. Fulford in the STEP Office.

I had trouble completing my application because I haven’t taken the courses listed yet (or my courses are not in the list)

No worries. As we shared in the Orientation Session, the current database is antiquated and no longer able to do all the things we need it to do. Please select something on the list to move the application forward. When you print it off, cross or black out the wrong information and provide appropriate information. When attempting to place you, we work from the approved application that you hand to us because we know of this flaw.

The address for my residency during student teaching changed from what I originally put on my application and I was placed too far away.

We are well aware of the fact that your application for student teaching is solicited a year in advance and that changes may occur. If you move, or have any other special circumstance that arises, please remember to email us the change as soon as you can. We depend on the kindness of the school district to host you. We do not want to jeopardize our relationship with the district and future placements by removing you from a guaranteed placement for non essential reasons. 

I do not have a placement yet. May I call districts to inquire about them hosting me?

No. Please do not contact districts on your own. Each district has very clear policies and procedures that the college must follow in placing students. Circumventing these procedures may endanger the college’s relationship with that district.

I have special circumstances that requires me to be close to campus. Can you find me a placement close to campus?

Maybe! Students who need to remain close to campus during their student teaching assignments to remain active in campus clubs, organizations or ensembles should make a note on the hardcopy application that is given to their Program Coordinator. With advance notice, we have a greater opportunity to make this accommodation work.

My GPA is under 3.00. Can I still student teach?

If your GPA is between 2.750 and 2.999, you can participate in student teaching. You will need to get permission from your academic department and sign a waiver that you cannot and will not be recommended for teacher certification until you raise your GPA to the state minimum of 3.00. Students with GPA under 2.750 will not be allowed to student teach. However, some districts will not accept students with a GPA below a 3.0 as student teachers. We will find you a placement, but it may take longer. 

I’ve been fingerprinted twice (once as a college student for a practicum and the other for substitute teaching). Which set of fingerprints should I be sending the STEP office and how do I (transfer, archive) them?

Students who have been fingerprinted as anything except a Substitute Teacher will not be able to archive or transfer their fingerprints. Students should only be choosing the substitute teacher option for CE, CP1 or CP2 experiences. Students do not have to send fingerprinting results until they have been placed as a student teacher. So, archiving your results will allow you to send your fingerprinting results to a school/district faster. For clarity purposes, you archive your prints to a district if you have never worked as a substitute teacher.

If you were paid as a substitute teacher, you will need to transfer your fingerprints to the district (https://www.state.nj.us/education/crimhist/transfer.htm) for $6. Otherwise, you will need to archive your prints to the district for $29 before you can starte your placement. In some cases before your application will be considered complete. For more information, you can go to the Department of Education website for directions on how to archive your prints.  To check for the update and to download a copy of your fingerprints, go to the Office of Student Protection Status Updates are made every Friday Morning.

I need a Universal Fingerprint Form and don’t know where to find that form. Can you help me?

You have to complete a criminal background check form with the State of New Jersey to get the Universal Fingerprinting Form. It will be emailed to you after completing your criminal background application. You can go to the Clearances Required page of our website and follow the directions under Criminal Background and Fingerprinting.  You can also see step by step instructions on the TCNJ Certification Office webpage under Clearances.

I thought we would be placed 35 miles from our home address, not 35 miles from TCNJ!

Actually, we must place you within 35 miles of TCNJ. All students must be accessible to the field supervisors who must travel to their site to evaluate them. If this is an issue and you need to live at home, you are encouraged to meet with your program coordinator to see if they can provide a supervisor near your home. If they can, we will be able to place you closer to home. If they are not able to find a supervisor to visit, you will have to be placed in a district that may be further from your home. The Hardship Waiver Form is online under forms.

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Where do I go to download a copy of my fingerprints?

Approximately two weeks (or 14 days) after you are fingerprinted, you can go to the Criminal History Review Status website to get your results.
https://homeroom5.doe.state.nj.us/chrs18/?app-emp-history You will need to put in your social security number and your birth date and year. You can download and save the pdf document. Please attach a copy in LiveText.

Who do I talk to for questions concerning student teaching and certification?

There are many people here to help answer your question. However, to get your question answered quicker, use this guide:

1. If this is a question about your substitute certificate, fingerprinting or criminal background, visit their website or contact the Certification Office for clarity. Ms. LaChan Hannon or Ms. Jennifer Pirone, certification@tcnj.edu

2. Questions about the student teaching process, requirements, or questions on student teaching timeline or placement for Clinical Practice 2 (full time student teaching) questions, view this website, the Handbook, or send an email to STEP@tcnj.edu or Dr. Cynthia Fulford at fulfordc@tcnj.edu.

3. Questions about the student teaching process, requirements, or questions on student teaching timeline or placement for Clinical Practice 1 (Part-time) and Clinical Experience (observation) questions, view this website, the Handbook, or send an email to STEP@tcnj.edu or Professor Eileen Heddy at heddy@tcnj.edu

4. If your question concerns stipend payments to cooperating or mentor teachers, you can contact the main office at 609-771-2408, STEP@tcnj.edu or Ms. Carla Varlese at Varlese@tcnj.edu.

5. Questions on the academic component of your practicum experiences and practices should be directed to your Program Coordinators

Please note: due to FERPA’s confidentiality regulations, college administrators are not allowed to speak with parents about student matters if the student is over 18 years of age.

Why haven’t I heard anything about my placement?

After student teacher placement requests are sent to school districts, we have to wait for a response. Some districts are able to place students quicker than others. At the end of every school year, teachers and principals may be moved to different grade levels or schools. In those cases, we have to wait until everyone knows where they will be placed the following year. This means that we may not be notified of who is willing to host students until that process is complete. 

Additionally, most boards of education only meet once a month. Therefore, once a school accepts your placement, it may take several more weeks for board approval.  

You can also go into the STEP database to view the school district where the office has sent your placement request.  It will read pending until you are placed. It may change if a district is unable to accommodate you. 

Will I be able to work in a variety of diverse settings?

Our goal is to provide students with a variety of placements so that they can experience various grade levels and schools and learn from a number of in-service teachers. We believe that teachers trained in working with students of diverse backgrounds including, race, gender, ability, socioeconomic status, are better equipped to teach in our increasingly diverse society.  Students in TCNJ Teacher Education programs will complete one of their clinical placements (CP1 or CP2) in an urban district and one in a suburban/rural district. 

How often do I need to get a TB test done?

It depends on the district. Some districts require you to submit negative TB results no older than one year, while others may require them to be no older than 3 or 6 months. The Health Center at TCNJ hold a TB clinic every semester. The cost to students is $10. The Fall 2019 dates are here: 2019-Fall-Semester-TCNJ-TB-Clinics

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