Field experience involves the direct observation of teaching, participation in teaching, or teaching itself that is related to the teacher education program in which the candidate is enrolled. Field experiences occur prior to student teaching and experiences are carefully selected and planned by the faculty of the School of Education.
At St. Thomas Aquinas College, field experiences emanate from course requirements in the form of specific assignments that are designed by professors to coincide with the course content and outcomes. Assignments are sequential in difficulty.
The student population in all field-based placements and the student teaching placement must match the specified field and level of the certification for which the candidate is preparing to work:
- Childhood Education: placements with students in grades 1-6
- Childhood and Special Education Grades 1-6: placements with students with disabilities who can access the regular education curriculum
- Secondary Education (Adolescence certification) Grades 7-12: placements with students receiving instruction in the candidate's major (i.e., English, math, science, social science,
- or Spanish).
- Art K-12 placements with students receiving instruction in Art, grades K-12.
Classroom teachers work with candidates during their field-based experiences prior to student teaching and serve as mentors and models of professional practice. They are certified teachers whose credentials match the credentials for which the candidate is preparing. During the second semester of junior year, field classroom teachers evaluate candidates' performance by completing a candidate evaluation form. It is the candidate's responsibility to give the evaluation form to the field classroom teacher and return the completed form in a sealed, signed envelope to the School of Education office.
Field experiences are recorded on the "Log of Field Experience Visits" by candidates, verified by the field classroom teacher, and submitted to the teacher education office.
All fieldwork forms, evaluations, and requests may be obtained in the Professional Resource Center in Borelli Hall.
- Childhood Education 1-6: 100 hours, including 15 in a special education setting and 30 in a diverse setting
- Childhood and Special Education Grades 1-6: 150 hours, including 50 in a special education setting and 30 in a diverse setting
- Secondary Education Grades 7-12: 100 hours, including 15 in a special education setting and 30 in a diverse setting
- Art K-12: 100 hours, including 15 in a special education setting and 30 in a diverse setting
Over the course of the candidate's studies, the student populations in the field-based placements must be representative of students from diverse backgrounds (e.g., cultural, socioeconomic, linguistic, urban, suburban). Therefore, candidates are required to complete at least one semester of field experiences in a school serving students from diverse backgrounds.