Field Experiences & Student Teaching

state_college_middle_school.jpgThroughout the program, Secondary Education (SECED) students gain valuable classroom experience as a student-teacher. All Penn State candidates for teacher certification (PK-4, 4-8, 7-12, and K-12) are required to observe and teach in settings that include diverse populations, students with special needs, and students of different ages as an integral part of the undergraduate education major. These experiences are referred to as field experiences. All field experiences are handled through the Curriculum and Instruction Field Experience (CIFE) Office.

As early as their third semester, students participate in an introductory field experience course (C I 295B). This experience is intended to introduce students to classroom observation, educational issues, and teaching as a career.

Students also take part in a mid-level field experience course (C I 495C). This is the next step in field experiences where students spend more time in classrooms with mentor teachers. Students have the opportunity to plan and teach lessons, spending multiple days within the classroom.

Finally, students participate in student teaching, which is the culminating field experience in the teacher education curriculum. Each student-teacher is engaged in full-time teaching responsibilities for at least a fifteen-week period under the guidance of a certified, experienced mentor teacher and a full-time university supervisor.

Student-teaching opportunities are provided at a variety of locations depending on the specific certification program. They are available across town and across the globe.

  • Students also have the opportunity for student teaching experiences through the Professional Development School (PDS), which is a partnership with the State College Area School District. Visit the PDS website for more details on this program.
  • Students can student teach in the U.S. at participating school districts across Pennsylvania and in South Dakota.
  • Students can choose the long-term student teaching abroad option where students receive the full student-teaching experience in Sweden.
  • Another student teaching abroad possibility is a short-term option where they complete 12 weeks of full-time teaching in Pennsylvania, followed by 5 to 7 weeks student teaching at an international site. Students have the opportunity to choose one of sixteen countries for a supported teaching experience (Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, and Wales).
  • Students focusing on English education have the opportunity to take part in the Professional Development School (PDS). This internship option pairs student-teachers with a mentor teacher in the State College School District. Student-teachers are in the classroom for the full school year learning and teaching.