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  • Student teaching and internships

    Student Teaching Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    When should I student teach?

    Please keep in frequent communication with your academic advisor to plan your program completion. Student teaching occurs during the final semester of study. All course, program, and testing requirements must be successfully completed before candidates are eligible for student teaching.. Student Teaching/Intern Information Meetings will be held each semester, prior to Application Day. Candidates are required to attend the information meeting one year (two semesters) before the expected student teaching semester.  Attendance at the information meeting qualifies a candidate to submit an application for student teaching.

    When will the Student Teaching/Intern Information Meeting be held?

    Student Teaching/Intern Information Meetings are generally held in September and February of each year.  Exact dates will be posted on the SoE website and on the information board outside of 145 Graff Main Hall. Candidates are responsible for checking the website, the SoE Facebook page, and the SoE info board frequently.

    What if I can't attend the Student Teaching/Intern Information Meeting?

    Attendance is expected. Those not able to attend need to contact the Office of Field Experience, immediately. Candidates are responsible for any information, policies, and procedures provided during the meeting.  Attending a session is required to submit an application to student teach, and is the OFE's first indication that you are ready so we can begin to communicate with you via email.

    How do I apply for student teaching?

    Candidates are expected to attend the Student Teaching/Intern Information Meeting one year (two semesters) prior to student teaching to receive the most current information regarding the application procedure. All candidates must complete the application and agree to comply with the terms stated in the application in order to be placed for student teaching. All course, program, and testing requirements must be successfully completed prior to student teaching. 

    What if I want to take an evening class during student teaching?

    Candidates are expected to have all course, program, and testing requirements successfully completed prior to student teaching. While permission may be granted under extenuating circumstances to take a course concurrent with student teaching, it is in your best interest to successfully complete all coursework prior to student teaching due to the rigors of the full-time student teaching experience. Candidates will have meetings and other responsibilities after school hours. In addition, placement locations vary and are made within a 50-mile radius of UW-L, which may make it difficult to meet the attendance requirements for both. 

    What if I have an underage drinking citation or a criminal charge?

    Candidates who have received citations or charges are required to disclose this information even if they think the charges were dismissed. This information is often reported on the online national criminal background check candidates are required to complete prior to participating in a field experience. Candidates are expected to report citations and charges consistently when completing the forms as required throughout the program of study.

    What if I don't disclose a criminal charge and something shows up on the national criminal background check?

    In the event the background check discloses criminal activity or information the candidate has failed to report, the candidate may be required to meet with the Director and/or Assistant Director of the Office of Field Experience to discuss the discrepancy. The result of this discussion may alter or terminate the candidate's participation in a field experience or student teaching assignment.

    When do I complete the online criminal background check?

    All candidates must complete the designated criminal background checks prior to entering the schools for each clinical experience. This is a requirement of the school placement sites, and it is the candidate's responsibility to follow the instructions and complete the process by the dates specified.  Candidates are responsible for all costs associated with the criminal background checks.  Prior to student teaching, candidates must complete a final criminal background check.  Candidates may not report to schools until they have been cleared through the Office of Field Experience.

    What do I do if I receive a citation or criminal charge after completing my student teaching application or during my student teaching/intern experience?

    Candidates are required to notify the Office of Field Experience as soon as possible, but no later than the next day they are expected to attend the student teaching or intern placement, when they have received any new charges or citations, or are being investigated by any governmental agency for any act or offense. Failure to do so may result in termination from participation in field experience or student teaching placements.

    I tried to register for my student teaching/intern experience and it won't let me register. Why not?

    Candidates will be registered for student teaching/ internship and seminar credits by the School of Education. Candidates need to ensure they have no holds on their accounts in order to be registered for the student teaching semester(s).

    When will I receive my student teaching placement?

    Securing student teaching placements is a complex process and most placements will be completed by the end of the semester prior to the candidate's student teaching experience. Placements are subject to change and some certification areas may be more difficult to arrange, which may result in later confirmation dates. Candidates will be notified of confirmed placements via email by the Office of Field Experience.

    Where will I be placed for student teaching?

    Candidates are generally placed in schools within a 50-mile radius of La Crosse. Candidates are asked to provide specific information, preferences, and special considerations on the application, which are considered when arranging placements with schools requesting student teachers that particular semester.  Candidates are NOT permitted to arrange their own placements in any way - to do so is a direct violation of SoE policy and could result in dismissal from the program.

    Are there other placement options?

    Exemplary teacher candidates may apply for out-of-area experiences with the Institute for Urban Education in Milwaukee, Educators Abroad, or Wisconsin Improvement Program (WIP) internship experiences. Applications for these programs are part of the student teaching application.  Candidates should indicate their interest in any of these programs when submitting their applications on Student Teaching Application Day. These are all selective / competitive programs, and applicants will be carefully screened and reviewed before being approved. Information about these experiences will be provided at the Student Teaching/Intern Information meetings and online at the SoE website in addition to option-specific information meetings held just prior to the placement semester.

    What if I want to be placed with a specific teacher or school?

    Please indicate your preferences on the application so that requests may be considered. Candidates are not allowed to arrange their own placements in any way, and policies prohibit candidates from contacting schools, principals, or teachers in an effort to obtain a placement. All placement contacts must be made through the Office of Field Experience.  Ignoring this policy could result in dismissal from the School of Education.

    What if I don't have a car?

    Candidates are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from schools. The Office of Field Experience will strive to facilitate carpooling for those candidates who do not have transportation. Limited placements may be possible within walking distance or on the bus line.

    May I work during student teaching?

    Student teaching is a full-time responsibility. Candidates are highly discouraged from working during their student teaching semester in order to devote time, attention, and energy to meeting the high demands of the experience. It is expected that student teachers will spend many hours beyond the school day reflecting, evaluating, and preparing for instruction as well as completing the edTPA assessment.

    May I be placed in the same school as my children or other family members?

    No, candidates generally benefit most from being placed in a neutral setting and the policy is to place candidates in settings where they are free to learn and do not have any additional advantage or disadvantage that may come from connections to family members.

    May I be placed at a school that I attended or one from which I graduated?

    The Office of Field Experience is required to provide neutral settings and diverse learning experiences for all teacher candidates. Candidates will generally be placed in a different school than the ones they attended.

    When will I start my student teaching/intern experience?

    The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) stipulates that all student teachers and interns must student teach or intern full days for a full semester according to the placement school calendar  in order to be certified in Wisconsin. Candidates are expected to follow the same schedule and calendar as the cooperating teacher they are placed with, including all in service days at the beginning of the semester and any other meetings. Student teachers are also encouraged to meet their cooperating teachers before the semester and assist with room set-up and preparation prior to the semester.

    How do I know when my school begins the semester?

    As soon as you receive your placement, please access the school calendar on the district website and make note of all important dates. Your next step is to contact your cooperating teacher with your introductory letter, and inquire about in service dates and a time to meet prior to the student teaching experience.

    Am I finished student teaching after commencement?

    No, the university calendar does not coincide with host school calendars, and student teachers/interns are required to complete the semester of the host school. School calendars vary, although the fall semester usually ends the third week of January and spring semester usually ends in early to mid-June, depending on school vacations, snow days, and other factors. Degrees are not awarded during the University commencement ceremony

    May I do my special education semester of student teaching in Minnesota or another state outside of Wisconsin or participate in the Institute for Urban Education (IUE) in Milwaukee?

    Out of state placements and IUE are not available for UW-L special education minors during the special education semester; however, candidates may consider these options for the regular education semester.

    May I apply for an internship for my special education student teaching semester?

    UW-L special education minors may not complete the special education semester through an internship; however, candidates may be eligible to apply for the internship pool for the regular education teaching semester. Careful consideration should be made to timing the student teaching experiences to permit this option. The special education semester, in most cases, should be completed first. See your advisor and the Office of Field Experience to coordinate your plan at least one year in advance of your student teaching.

    May I do my special education semester through Educators Abroad?

    UW-L special education minors may not complete the special education semester abroad; however, candidates may be eligible to student teach for the regular education semester through Educators Abroad. Careful consideration should be made to timing the student teaching experiences to permit this option. The special education semester, in most cases, should be completed first. See your advisor and the Office of Field Experience to coordinate your plan at least one year in advance of your student teaching.

    Who should I contact if I have more questions about student teaching experiences?

    Visit us at the Office of Field Experience, 145 Graff Main Hall for answers to all your student teaching-related questions.  Sheila Wirkus, Director, Office of Field Experience.