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Student teaching is a college-supervised instructional experience; usually the culminating course in a university/college undergraduate education or graduate school program leading to teacher education and certification. Examples of programs include Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2), Childhood (Grades 1-6), and Adolescence (Grades 7-12). It is required by those earning either a Bachelor of Education or Master of Education degree.
Student teaching is required for students who are not yet certified to teach. It is different from a practicum, which is required when a student already holds certification to teach, yet wants a certificate extension to teach another area of specialization; they are both college-supervised field-based experiences.
The student teaching experience lasts about the length of a semester; long enough to fulfill the college’s assigned tasks. This experience gives the prospective teaching professional an opportunity to teach under the supervision of a permanently certified master teacher (see schoolmaster).
The student teacher is usually placed in a neighboring or participating school district. The student teacher is monitored by the cooperating teacher from the district, as well as a supervisor through the college. The supervisor acts as a liaison between the cooperating teacher and the head of the college’s student teaching department.
The student teacher essentially shadows the cooperating teacher for about one week, eventually gaining more responsibility in teaching the class as the days progress. The supervisor, as well as cooperating teacher, are to monitor the progress of the student teacher throughout the experience, ensuring it’s satisfactory. A grade of Pass or Fail in student teaching, as well as satisfactory completion of a school's education program, is an indication as to whether the college recommends the student for certification to teach.
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