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Student Teaching Handbook


This edition of the Student Teaching Handbook has been designed to provide you with an overview of the student teaching process: from orientation to the classroom “solo weeks” teaching experience, to the college’s process of recommending qualified teacher candidates for NYS initial certification.

This handbook should be viewed as a “work in progress” as the Office of Student Teaching continually revises the program based on research, recommendations from the field, feedback from teachers and principals, accreditation requirements, innovative instructional/supervisory techniques, changes in NYS education law, and changes in NYS teacher certification requirements.

The student teaching experience is intended to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, dispositions, and impact on student learning. Under the guidance and supervision of an experienced professional development educator (PDE) and college field supervisor (CFS), teacher candidates further develop and refine their skills in a real teaching situation within the guidelines established by SUNY Plattsburgh.

Your student teaching experience is designed to provide you with the following:

  • the culminating event of your preparation;
  • an opportunity to apply teaching/learning theories in practical situations;
  • an opportunity for additional “real” classroom experience;
  • an opportunity to participate in actual school situations for a full semester to refine your understanding of the many complexities of a teacher’s role;
  • a laboratory for the testing of ideas and for providing a model framework for teaching efficacy;
  • a time for personal self-assessment, reflection, and objective evaluation;
  • a time of transition from the role of teacher candidate to that of a professional in which you become responsible for the educational growth of the students;
  • the overall confidence and competence necessary to be successful as an effective novice teacher;
  • an opportunity to refine the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions you will need as an effective novice teacher; and
  • an opportunity to become familiar with Common Core State Standards & NYS Teaching Standards and their corresponding assessments.

Closing Thoughts

Most of you are probably experiencing a whole range of emotions at this time. If you are feeling nervous, excited, and even a bit apprehensive, you are feeling normal. This emotional drive shows you have the right feelings and are anxious to get in the classroom to make a difference. As you “gear up” for your student teaching experience, please do not approach this wonderful opportunity simply as the final phase of your teacher preparation. Yes, “education is the journey, not the destination.” Your student teaching experience is only the beginning of your professional and personal journey in making a difference in the lives of children.

Your PDEs and CFS not only want to work with your idealism and your energy, but they mostly want to work with your compassion to teach and work effectively with children. Your job will be challenging, demanding, and highly rewarding. The effort you put forth will be directly proportional to the amount of success you achieve. You should come away with a feeling that you worked hard, were professional, and improved significantly in your teaching abilities and with your rapport with children. They also want to see you have fun and truly enjoy teaching and reaching out to children. The work will require a tremendous amount of time and effort. They will do all that they possibly can to support you.

Your attitude determines your altitude. In order to soar, you must be able to accept constructive criticism as part of your learning experience. We are grateful to the PDEs for their dedication to the teaching profession. Their continuing commitment of sharing their talents and their classrooms to SUNY Plattsburgh teacher candidates is the core of the success of our program. Without their help, this program would not be possible.

We are well aware that you will be extremely busy during your 16 week experience. The supervisory visits, evaluative conferences, seminars, and assignments are all intended to help you with your professional development as a teacher. The end result will be worth the effort.

Good luck “teaching and reaching out to kids.”

“... Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land ...” From Whitman’s “Song of Myself”
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