Field Experiences: Everything You Need to Know

These are opportunities given to teachers that are yet to serve, to gain experience by helping out and observing in classes within schools. They are also known as practicums. The primary model of field instruction is a concurrent one, which means the teachers will take classes simultaneously when they’re in the field. Field experience hours are taken into account as course assignments in particular courses within each program. Depending on the chosen program, the minimum number of hours required can differ (50 to 200 hours, for instance). 

Since each field experience will have its own objectives, it will be different from others. A pre-service teacher’s initial experiences will need him to watch students in the classroom and notice how the teacher teaches. Over time, the anticipations pertaining to his involvement will increase as he becomes more comfortable with and knowledgeable about the teaching profession. Eventually, he will craft and teach his own lessons.

Though field experiences encourage a steady progression, they will vary based on the pre-service teacher’s comfort level and ability. The decision for field placement of teachers follows a certain procedure. During the semester before their field experience, pre-service teachers will get an email asking them to complete a ‘field experience placement request’ form. This form needs them to answer questions about their background information, experience, interests, learning objectives, availability, and the populations and settings they would prefer to work with. 

Next, the FPO (Field Placement Office) will consider the answers submitted in the form, along with the criteria required by schools and teachers, to match the pre-service teachers to a specific school district and teacher. While making such placements, the FPO ties to put teachers in an environment that offers them the optimum potential to grow professionally and personally. Typically, email communication is used to notify the involved parties of the placements.

After the Field Coordinator visits the class and provides the pre-service teachers with the essential paperwork and information, they can contact their placement and make the necessary arrangements to complete their field experience. Placements for field experience are typically made within walking distance or a short drive away from the campus, but in some extenuating circumstances, they may be made beyond this area.

Field experiences engage cooperating teachers, who opt for it voluntarily as they understand and value the chance to work with pre-service teachers. The Field Office selects these teachers based on their experience, knowledge, passion for education, and support for the particular program.

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