Attendance is required at all seminars and field experience days. Students may be excused from lectures, seminars, and field experiences for reasons of serious personal illness, death in the immediate family, religious holidays, or a conflicting and required Penn State event. In the case of an excused absence, all class work must be made up within a week. Excused field site days must be made up by the end of the semester. Excessive absences that do not allow for make-up time at the end of the semester may result in a grade of Unsatisfactory for the course, requiring you to retake the course the next semester.

School Attendance

Participation in the field experience program requires a commitment to that program, the mentor teacher, and most importantly the students. If, due to illness or family emergency, you cannot be at your school site on a given day, you are required to place a call to (1) your mentor teacher or school and (2) field experience supervisor. Written (email) verification of the emergency must be presented to the field experience instructor within one week of the absence. Absences due to sanctioned university functions must be reported prior to the event through written notification by University personnel.

Extenuating circumstances such as inclement weather and school delays will be addressed on an individual basis in consultation with those involved. You may decide not to drive to schools when inclement weather makes driving more hazardous. This is a decision that must be made carefully, as your safety is paramount. The general rule of thumb is if school is held and you elect not to attend, the day must be made up (this also applies to delayed starts to the school day). If school is cancelled, the day does not need to be made up. You are not required to drive through a school district that is closed to reach your school, even if your school is not cancelled.

You are required to make up excused absences either during the field experience or during Penn State’s final exam week. You are responsible for discussing make-up procedures with the field experience instructor and the mentor teacher within one school week of the absence. Excessive absences, more than can be made up in finals week, could result in an unsatisfactory rating for the course, as noted above.

Seminar Attendance

Seminar attendance is required. On the day of an unplanned absence (due to sudden illness or family emergency), a call or email must be placed to the supervisor before the scheduled seminar time. An unexcused absence or tardiness may result in an unsatisfactory rating in the area of professional responsibilities, which could result in an unsatisfactory for the course. Excessive excused absences could also result in an unsatisfactory rating for the course, which would result in the need to retake the course.

You must investigate district policy regarding the video recording and photographing of students. District policies may range from (a) granting permission to video record or photograph children for educational purposes only to (b) prohibiting such practice. You must check with your mentor before any video recording or photographing is planned. If permission is needed from parents, it is your responsibility to get the consent forms signed. If permission has been granted, an array of equipment is available for Penn State student use at the Media Center in Thomas Building.

Pennsylvania law requires teachers and school employees to notify child protective services with any reasonable suspicions that a child is being hurt or is hurting him/herself or others in any way. Because you will be in contact with children, you have responsibilities to protect them. If abuse is suspected, you should notify the mentor teacher and field instructor, but nottake matters into your own hands. This idea is repeated below in the language of Penn State’s official statement:

All professionals in Pennsylvania who work with children are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse, including physical, verbal, sexual, or neglect. If you suspect abuse of a child in your placement site, as soon as possible, objectively write down what you saw and/or heard. Immediately contact your class instructor/supervisor to report your concern. It is the instructor’s responsibility to report such suspicions to appropriate program administrators, who will follow district policy and procedures.

Privacy and free speech rights permit you to maintain and submit information on the Internet, including postings on Facebook and Twitter, and other social websites. However, you must consider how the information you post may be interpreted and used by colleagues, parents, administrators, and, above all, students. When you decide to post personal and private information on the web, you run the risk of having that information be used publicly, and its use may not be to your benefit. Please consider that:

  • Administrators, parents, and mentors browse postings on social networks, forming first impressions and judging the moral character of pre-service and practicing teachers.
  • Although you cannot fully control how others judge you, you can control the information from which others make judgments.
  • As adults, students will look to you to model appropriate behaviors and choices. Students may not be able to distinguish between adult choices and appropriate behaviors for children.
Professional Guidelines:
  • Maintain separate sites for professional and personal use.
  • Do not share your username or personal web-addresses or social network accounts with students.
  • If you do have personal web-space, like Facebook, arrange for it to be password protected and readable only by friends or chosen members.
  • Do not permit anyone to post on your site without your approval.
  • Set your privacy settings for pictures so that you would have to approve them if you are tagged in them.
  • If you know that a student has accessed your personal site, make it clear to the student that this is an inappropriate way to communicate with you.

Misuse of social media may result in your removal from a Field Experience, in which case you would receive a grade of Unsatisfactory and will have to retake the course. This will also prevent you from moving onto student teaching. In extreme cases of misuse of social media, you may be removed from the teacher education program.

Curriculum & Instruction Field Experiences (CIFE) provide you with opportunities to observe and participate in the professional activities of a teacher. The field experiences are cooperative ventures that rely on the support of people from the schools as well as Penn State. As a representative of Penn State, you have a responsibility in the development of this relationship. Being fully aware that the school environment will place many new demands on you is the first step in forging this relationship.

Understanding the Guest-Host Relationship

Penn State’s College of Education works with a large number of school districts each year to provide field experiences. Pre-service teachers are placed in a particular district only after that district has invited them and has agreed to work jointly with Penn State. Penn State students as well as Penn State Faculty Supervisors are always there as guests of the host district. Each school district with which Penn State has a working relationship maintains its own regulations, procedures, instructional practices, professional philosophies, and personal and professional expectations that influence the teachers and pre-service teachers working their district.

Your acceptance of a placement assignment indicates an understanding of this Guest-Host Relationship, and, that you are expected to abide by the school calendar, regulation, procedures, instructional practices, and professional and personal expectations of the particular district to which you have been assigned. An inability to meet these district expectations may result in your withdrawal from the placement.

Professional Behavior

Your professional behavior manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Maintaining an excellent attendance record.
  • Showing initiative in your involvement with students and adults in the classroom and school.
  • Developing rapport with students and other professionals.
  • Being prepared to teach your lessons.
  • Maintaining appropriate confidentiality and always acting ethically.
  • Meeting all deadlines for assignments.
  • Using standard spelling and grammar in communications with student, mentors, and parents.

In the schools, professional attire and deportment is required. Professional dress in schools varies somewhat from school to school. Unusual hairstyles, piercings, tattoos, and clothing styles, and in particular, those that the school recognizes as a distraction to learning, must be avoided. The school faculty’s dress often provides you with guidance about what is appropriate to wear at the school.

Identification Requirement

You must prominently display your University photo ID when you are in the schools as a security measure. In addition, some districts will require you to wear a visitor's badge and sign in and out of the building office on each visit. Please follow school policy on this.