Appendix J: Orientation to School Assignment

Student teachers are advised to not interrupt the mentor teacher, principal, secretary, etc., too much during the first few days of the semester. It is good practice to request an appointment after as much as possible has been completed alone or with a peer.

I. Basic Information:

Check off as completed

  • Ask for a printed plan of the school.
  • Identify your classroom. Draw in the emergency exit route. Walk the emergency route.
  • Determine your class schedule.
  • Identify your teacher's responsibilities/obligations (teaching by subject, cafeteria duty, etc).
  • Obtain a class roster and seating plan.
  • Become familiar with names, nicknames, abbreviations and pronunciations.
  • Review Student Handbook and Teacher Handbook, if these exist
  • Review all policies and procedures.

II. Physical Plan and School Personnel:

Check off as completed and locate the following, mark on school map, and introduce self where appropriate

  • Your assigned classroom.
  • Other teachers in the same grade/department /subject (get teachers' names)
  • The students' restrooms—boys and girls
  • The teachers' lounge(s).
  • The teachers' restrooms—men’s and women’s
  • The secretary's office. His/Her name:
  • The guidance counselor's office. His/Her name:
  • The nurse's room. His/Her name:
  • The principal's office. His/Her name:
  • The custodians' office. Their names:
  • The pay telephone.
  • The special rooms and specialists' names.
    • all purpose
    • art
    • auditorium
    • before- and after- school program
    • counselor
    • ELL
    • gifted
    • gym
    • tech ed
    • library
    • music
    • other
    • planetarium
    • resource room
    • science
    • swimming pool
    • other
    • cafeteria and cafeteria works' names

III. Non-Instructional Duties: note the answers to the questions below

  • When and where are faculty meetings?
  • What time do they start? End?
  • Teachers must be in their classrooms by:
  • Teachers must stay until:
  • Time students begin arriving:
  • Time students leave:
  • Where do buses drop off and pick up?
  • When does the school day formally begin?
  • When are the P.A. announcements made?
  • When is/are recess(es)?
  • Where may the students play at recess?
  • Students may stay in at recess/lunch for the following reasons:
  • Who supervises the students during outdoor recess?
  • During indoor recess?
  • What time is lunch for the school?
  • What time is lunch for your grade/teacher?
  • Do you need a lunch account to buy lunch?
  • Who accompanies students to specials/programs/classes?
  • Who returns students to their classes?
  • Where may students wait for parents?
  • What are the procedures/regulations regarding driving to school?
  • What other non-teaching duties does your mentor teacher have?
  • What non-teaching duties will you participate in?

IV. Services in the School: make note of answers to the following questions

Supplies for use in the classroom

  • What procedures should you follow?
  • What is available for your use?

Making copies, laminating, computers, etc.

  • Where?
  • What kind of machines?
  • Can you operate them without assistance?
  • Procedures and rules for their use?


  • Do you need a computer account?
  • How to reserve computer lab
  • Procedures, rules, and expectations for use

Audio-Visual Supplies

  • Where?
  • How do you order/acquire videos, slides, computer software/hardware?
  • Procedure and rules?
  • How much notice to order?
  • Are supplies available from the I.U.?

Secretarial and Related Assistance

  • What assistance is available to you?
  • Is prior notice needed?
  • What are guidelines for office use, protocol, and etiquette?

Janitorial and other assistance

  • What procedures should you be aware of?

V. Emergency Procedures: make note of critical information

  • What happens in an emergency drill?
  • Under what conditions does the building get evacuated?
  • What is the exit route and alternate route?
  • What are the emergency rules and procedures?
  • Which radio/TV stations/web sites carry the school delays/cancellations?
  • How will you know when your school is delayed or canceled?
  • Who will contact you in case of a school closing (e.g., snow chain or telephone tree?)
  • What are the school cancellation procedures? How do they involve you?
  • Which of your students have special needs that might require emergency care (e.g., medical, allergies, psychological)?
  • What are the procedures for student health emergencies?
  • Ask about universal precautions.

VI. Teaching Information


  • Collect and review carefully curriculum guides and student texts.
  • What are the school district homework guidelines for your grade?
  • Where are homework assignments posted?
  • Do the students copy down assignments? When and to where?
  • How do the parents know what the assignments will be?
  • Must the parents sign anything? If so, what?
  • When is homework checked and/or collected?
  • What happens if homework is not completed?
  • Other information regarding homework:

Student Records

  • What is the school district's policy regarding records kept on the students?
  • Where are they kept?

Grade Book

  • What is recorded?
  • Procedures?
  • What is your role?
  • Will you keep grades for the classes you teach?
  • Will you use your own grade book/spreadsheet?

Classroom Procedures

  • Obtain specific classroom rules/regulations
  • How are passes handled?
  • How are absences/tardies handled?

Co-curricular Activities

  • When?
  • Where?

VII. Other

Student teachers should make note of other information that may be of assistance during the student teaching assignment.

Some examples include field trip policies, policies regarding photographing and video taping of students, unauthorized parent visits, drug and alcohol problems and policies, sex education, student assistance programs, inclusion, gifted and talented programs, in-service, conferencing policies, etc.