Commonly Asked Questions about Preschool Student Teaching
Do student teachers have to write up lesson plans for every activity? How detailed should the lesson plans be?
Please see the section on lesson plans. Each supervisor handles this in a slightly different manner and will discuss specifics at the orientation meeting. No matter what the requirements are of the university supervisor, however, it is strongly recommended that student teachers write out lesson plans before implementing any activity. Also, be advised that cooperating teachers can and/or will require lesson plans, often in more detail, than a university supervisor will.
What happens if there is a “situation” between a student teacher and a cooperating teacher? What is the proper procedure to follow when problems arise?
As this is a “professional” experience it is the university’s hope that any conflicts will be handled in a timely, professional and respectful manner. Student teachers and cooperating teachers are expected to try to work out differences before involving the university supervisor. Although the university supervisor will mediate and act as a sounding board, every attempt will be made to have the student teacher and cooperating teacher work together to resolve differences. If a student teacher or cooperating teacher is having difficulty working with the university supervisor and has tried to resolve the situation but is not able to do so, the director of the Office of Field Experiences should be contacted.
Why do PreK student teachers have to make up all absences?
The PreK student teaching experience includes much less direct contact time and fewer credits than other student teaching experiences. The faculty of the early childhood program feels strongly that this is an essential and integral part of the learning experience for PreK-6 preservice teachers and that less time should not in any way be interpreted as easier or less important than other student teaching placements. Because of the limited hours in this setting, it is required that all absences be made up.
What are the requirements to be a cooperating teacher for a PreK student teacher?
Cooperating teachers for the PreK directed teaching experience meet the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services requirements for lead teachers in day care centers.
How much money should student teachers be expected to spend on materials?
Student teachers should not be expected to supplement the center in which he/she is placed with materials. Student teachers should not be expected to purchase food for the center. When the student teacher prepares a nutrition activity, the student teacher needs to work with the cooperating teacher and become aware of what is available at the center or can be purchased by the center.
What happens to the materials that a student teacher has prepared while completing his/her student teaching placement?
If a student teacher prepared materials using the center’s materials and/or does so during the time the student teacher is at the center (during direct contact hours), the materials become the property of the center. However, any materials that the student teacher makes and brings to the center to use any materials she/he purchased are the sole property of the student teacher (i.e., flannel/magnet board stories, charts, costumes, prop boxes, etc.).
Are student teachers counted in the ratios?
Student teachers are not counted in the ratios. Student teachers are not to be left alone with children. If this occurs, it is the student teacher’s responsibility to inform the University Supervisor.
Who chooses the themes for the student teacher’s lead weeks?
Ideally, the student teacher and cooperating teacher mutually agree upon the themes for the student teacher’s two lead weeks. However, there are some programs, which have mandated themes which must be covered and the student teacher will have less choice. If a student teacher is allowed some freedom in choosing the lead week theme, there may be greater effort put forth by the student teacher.
What if the student teacher and cooperating teacher have different styles or methods of teaching?
Different opinions and method of teaching are bound to happen. It is essential that the student teacher realize that the cooperating teacher is allowing the student teacher to learn in his/her classroom and that the student teacher is not placed in a setting to disrupt the teacher's method
of teaching. On the other hand, the best cooperating teachers allow student teachers the freedom to plan and carry out ideas that may differ from the teacher's own style, after the student teacher consults with the cooperating teacher. New ideas and practices need to be well planned and carefully explained. This experience is truly an exercise in communication, trust, and trial and error. Keeping in mind what is best for the child, the cooperating teacher and student teacher may need to compromise. If, after trying to compromise, a problem still exists, the university supervisor is available to mediate the situation if necessary.