About Student Teaching (EDUC 650/655 or MUEP 680/685)

Student teaching is a full-day, full-semester (18-week) internship combining observation with practice teaching in K-12 schools. Lawrence student teachers are normally responsible for planning and teaching two classes per day in their subject area and for assisting their cooperating teacher in other classes. They also complete school duties (such as supervision), attend meetings, communicate with parents, and often contribute to extracurricular activities. Through a mixture of modeling and practice, student teachers learn how to be public school teachers, developing the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen profession.

Lawrence places each student teacher with a cooperating teacher for the full 18 weeks so that the student teacher has enough time to get to know the students, the school, and the community, and to develop as a teacher in that setting. Because student teachers in art, foreign language, and music receive a K-12 license, they are often placed in an elementary school for 9 weeks and a secondary school for 9 weeks so that they gain experience at both levels.

Every student teacher is supervised by a member of the Education Department or the Music Education Department. This university supervisor observes the student teacher four times over the course of the semester and meets with the student after each observation to discuss the lesson, to offer advice, and to answer questions. At mid-semester (9 weeks) and at the end of the semester (18 weeks), the university supervisor and the cooperating teacher each fill out a Student Teaching Evaluation, which they discuss with the student teacher (a sample form can be found under Forms on this website).

At the end of the semester, every student teacher submits a portfolio providing evidence that he or she meets each of Lawrence’s 13 Teacher Education Program Standards required for certification. More information can be found under Program Standards and Portfolios on this website.

Student teaching is graded S/U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory). Note that a satisfactory (S) grade in student teaching does not guarantee that a student will be certified for licensure. The student must submit an acceptable portfolio, finish any remaining coursework, and satisfy all requirements for licensure.

Student Teaching Options

Student teaching may be done during the senior year or in a 13th term after graduation. Most Lawrence students do their student teaching during the school district’s fall semester (late August to late January), which overlaps with Lawrence's fall term and the start of winter term; seniors adjust their teaching schedule to accommodate the start of winter term classes. It's also possible to student teach in the spring semester (late January to early June), which overlaps with Lawrence's winter and spring terms. While student teaching, student teachers meet weekly on campus in the Advanced Methods in Teaching seminar; no other courses are permitted.

Lawrence students have three options for student teaching placements:

(1) In and around the Fox Cities : Most students complete their student teaching within easy driving distance of Lawrence. This facilitates the university supervisor's visits to observe the student and the student's participation in the weekly seminar on campus. Students who are student teaching in the local area may live in campus housing (if they have not yet graduated), in a university-owned apartment (the "blue box" near the athletic fields), or in their own private apartment, often shared with another student teacher. Students who have already graduated normally qualify for a 13th term tuition waiver for student teaching, paying only a registration fee of approximately $1,700.

(2) In Chicago: Students who want to student teach in an urban setting can do so through Lawrence’s affiliations with the ACM Urban Education Program and with the Chicago Center Urban Teaching Practicum. Each program provides school placements, supervision, and a weekly seminar. They also provide housing with other student teachers in apartments in Chicago. Students who do their student teaching in Chicago must, like all student teachers, prepare a Final Teaching Portfolio and submit it to the Education Department or Music Education Department at Lawrence for approval.

To participate in either program, students must apply to Lawrence’s Off-Campus Study Program. If approved, they must pay the program's tuition and housing costs, whether or not they have already graduated; in other words, there is no 13th term tuition waiver. Many graduates find the program worth the extra cost because of the unique experience it provides, while seniors find the program no more costly than the equivalent time at Lawrence.

Interested students should consult with the Education Department chair and stop by the Off-Campus Study office to pick up the relevant form. Applications are due in the Education Department and Off-Campus Study offices in mid-January to student teach in Chicago the following academic year. 

(3) In a foreign country : Students who want overseas teaching experience have an opportunity to do so through Lawrence's partnership with a program for international education. Students may apply to do 9 weeks of student teaching in the Fox Cities followed by 9 weeks of student teaching in another English-speaking country (in North America, Europe, Asia, or Australia/New Zealand) or in a non-English-speaking country (for certification in teaching English as a second language). Students who participate in this program must, like all student teachers, prepare a Final Teaching Portfolio and submit it to the Education Department or Music Education Department at Lawrence for approval.

To apply for overseas student teaching, students must submit the registration form for overseas practice teaching, a letter from the student's major advisor(s) or studio teacher(s) attesting to the student's mastery of subject matter and suitability for overseas student teaching, and a current transcript. Applicants must have at least a 3.25 GPA to qualify. Students applying for overseas student teaching should also plan to take the Praxis II test in November rather than waiting until January. Although students will be asked to specify desired countries for placement, the program cannot guarantee placement in a specific country. If no suitable placement can be found, the student will need to student teach in the Fox Cities or Chicago. Students participating in this program do qualify for a 13th term tuition waiver, leaving them responsible for program and registration fees (about $1200-$1500), room and board, and transportation costs (including any cancellation or change fees).

Any student accepted for overseas student teaching must demonstrate satisfactory progress in the first 9 weeks of student teaching (done in the Fox Cities) in order to be permitted to go overseas for the second 9 weeks. Students who make less than satisfactory progress will need to stay in the Fox Cities for the remainder of their student teaching and will be responsible for their own expenses related to canceling or changing airline reservations.

Interested students should consult with the Education Department chair for more information. Applications are due in the Education Department between in mid-January to student teach overseas the following academic year.

Key Deadlines:

No later than fall term (Term I) of the year before student teaching:

  • Pass a standardized academic skills test (Praxis I PPST, Praxis Core, ACT, SAT, or GRE). Information about Praxis tests is available in the education office (Briggs 117) and on this website under Praxis Tests.
  • Apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program. You may apply as early as your sophomore year. Pick up application forms and a Teacher Certification Handbook from the education office (Briggs 117).

No later than winter term (Term II) of the year before student teaching:

  • Take the subject area test(s) (Praxis II or ACTFL) for your certification area(s). This ensures that your scores will be received on time and gives you the chance to retake the test if necessary. You may not begin student teaching until passing scores have been received by the Education Department directly from ETS or ACTFL.
  • Discuss student teaching placement preferences with the department chair. You can suggest specific teachers you have observed and/or request a particular school. If you do this early enough, we will make every effort to accommodate you.
  • Submit an application to student teach in Chicago or overseas by mid-January.

No later than spring term (Term III) of the year before student teaching:

  • Take the appropriate methods course in the spring term: music (instrumental or vocal), art, foreign language, ESL, or general methods (for math, science, social studies, and English). You must receive at least a B- grade in methods to continue into student teaching.
  • Make sure you have completed enough practicum hours. You may not begin student teaching until you have completed at least 100 hours of practicum.
  • Submit a Pre-Student Teaching Portfolio by June 30. You may not begin student teaching until your Pre-Student Teaching Portfolio has been reviewed by a member of the education faculty.

Prior to the start of student teaching:

  • Complete all courses in the teacher certification sequence.  (Any remaining subject area or degree requirements can be completed after student teaching.)
  • Go to a clinic for a TB test and give the test report to the Education Department. You may not begin student teaching until you have a current TB test report on file in the Education Department.

Advanced Methods in Teaching (EDUC 660 or MUEP 660)

Students are expected to take Advanced Methods in Teaching during the student teaching semester so that they have the opportunity to connect study directly with practice and to engage in discussions and activities with other students who are actively teaching. This weekly seminar explores a variety of topics related to the profession and practice of teaching and the relation of schools to society. The course also includes instruction in building effective portfolios and preparing for a job search. Grading is S/U. (Those who student teach in Chicago will have an equivalent weekly seminar as part of their Chicago placement.)

Student Teacher Retreat at Björklunden

Each fall the Education Department attempts to arrange a mid-semester weekend retreat for student teachers at Björklunden, Lawrence’s northern campus in Door County. The student teachers help determine the program for the retreat, which might include social and learning activities, discussions, guest speakers, films related to teaching, and plenty of time for respite and lesson preparation.

Student Teaching FAQ

Do I have to find my own student teaching placement?

No, we will find a place for you to student teach. However, students are urged to give us names of teachers with whom they would like to be placed. All placements are handled by the education department in collaboration with the school district. For a variety of reasons, the teacher(s) you ask for may not be available when you plan to do your student teaching.

If you do know of a teacher with whom you would like to student teach, please give her or his name to the department chair. You may talk informally with the teacher about the possibility of student teaching with her/him but all requests must be made by LU’s Education Department to the appropriate district office. Please do not try to arrange a student teaching placement directly with any teacher. Please be sure the teacher understands that we will contact the district office (or building administrator as appropriate) to make a formal request and that she or he should not do so in advance of our official contact.

Can I choose the school level (e.g., high school, middle school) in which I student teach?

Yes. While we cannot absolutely guarantee you will be placed in the grade level you request, we make every effort to do so and almost always are able to accommodate you. (Please note that studio art and foreign language candidates are placed in an elementary school for 9 weeks and a secondary school for 9 weeks.)

Can I choose the town in which I student teach?

Yes, within limits. We will always try to place you in the town you have requested. If that is not possible, we will try to place you in a similar type of community or school. Generally speaking, all placements must be within a 20-25 mile radius of Lawrence (unless you are student teaching in Chicago or completing the second half of your student teaching overseas).

Can I student teach in a school I attended?

Yes, but you should talk with the department chair about this well in advance of when you plan to student teach as there are pros and cons to doing so.

Can I take courses while student teaching?

No. Because student teaching is a full-time internship and students are expected to be at school throughout the school day, you may not take any other courses while student teaching other than the 3-unit Advanced Methods in Teaching course, which is a weekly evening seminar.

During the student teaching semester (fall or spring), you should register for two courses: Student Teaching (EDUC 650) and Advanced Methods in Teaching (EDUC 660). If you student teach in the fall, you may not register for any fall term courses. If you student teach in the spring, you may not register for any winter or spring term courses. For this reason most students choose to do their student teaching in the fall.

What if I am certifying in more than one subject?

If you are certifying in more than one subject area, you must do a full semester of student teaching in each area. Nevertheless, it may be possible for you to student teach in two subjects at the same time (e.g., Spanish and English as a Second Language). Ask the department chair about the requirements for your particular situation. Students who plan to student teach for two semesters sometimes choose to do one semester near Lawrence and one in Chicago to gain a broader range of experience.

What if I am certifying K-12 (in art, music, theatre, foreign language, or ESL)?

Students who are certifying K-12 typically do a split placement with 9 weeks at the elementary level and 9 weeks at the secondary level.

If I student teach in a 13th term, do I have to pay tuition?

If you student teach at Lawrence within a year after graduation (13th term), you do not have to pay tuition for the additional term, but you will have to pay a program fee of approximately $1,700. If you student teach in Chicago, you must pay the program's tuition, which may differ from regular Lawrence tuition. Ask the department chair for more information.

If I am a graduate of Lawrence or another university and then decide to seek teacher certification, must I pay full tuition?

Lawrence graduates may pursue teacher certification through Lawrence at 50% of the current tuition rate. For graduates of other institutions, the tuition rate is 75%. A separate fee is charged for the student teaching portion of the program. Contact the department chair for details.

When I finish student teaching, am I ready to be certified?

Not quite. There are still some additional requirements for licensure (criminal background check and fingerprinting, formal application, etc.). Look under Licensure Q&A on this website and check with the department chair for details.

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