Types of Placements

Observations, Practicums, and Full-Time Internships

U of A Teacher Candidates are continually engaged in field experiences throughout their programs of study. Teacher Candidates progress from Observation placements to Practicum placements, and eventually complete Full-Time Internships. Expectations and responsibilities for both the teacher candidate and mentor will vary depending on the type of placement.

Below are general expectations/responsibilities for students/teacher candidates and mentors in each type of placement:

Observations

Students observe in local classrooms and are introduced to topics that help initiate the transition from “student” to “professional educator.” Classroom interactions are limited and should be directed by the mentor teacher. Students are not required to teach any lessons as part of these courses but may need to interview a teacher, administrator, counselor, etc. Students spend approximately 12-18 hours in a classroom in a given semester. 

Mentors for observation experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and allow students to complete observations in their classroom as long as they do not interrupt the learning environment. They might need to verify a visit sign-in/out sheet for students and/or be asked to be interviewed by a student.  

Practicums

Teacher Candidates continue in their transition to becoming professional educators and assume more responsibilities in their field experiences. They help facilitate one-on-one tutoring, small group instruction (as directed by the mentor teacher), and are required to teach lessons in cooperation with the mentor teacher’s curriculum. Students spend anywhere from 25 to 60 hours in classrooms depending on the semester. 

Mentors for practicum experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and take part in prearranging their assigned student’s visit schedule in a given semester. They will allow teacher candidates to teach lessons as required by the course(s) and provide authentic, constructive feedback to the students when needed/requested. Mentors may need to complete formative and summative evaluations on the students, as well.      

Full-Time Internships

Teacher Candidates complete full-time internships the last semester or last full-year of their programs. They are expected to gradually assume full-time teaching responsibilities in the classroom. They are also encouraged to participate in school/district professional development, attend professional conferences, and engage in extracurricular activities (help sponsor school groups, attend athletic events, etc.). Teacher Candidates typically spend everyday in their full-time internship placement. 

Mentors for full-time internship experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and relinquish share/control of the classroom when appropriate. They will communicate regularly with designated U of A faculty/staff, allow teacher candidates to teach lessons/units and provide authentic, constructive feedback to the students when needed/requested. Mentors will complete ongoing formative and summative evaluations on the students and will participate in Mentor Teacher Training (offered annually).