Student teaching provides the teacher candidate with an opportunity to apply what he/she has learned in university courses to the professional setting of a classroom. Student teaching is a full-time commitment for 16 weeks. During this period, the teacher candidate’s main objective is to continue to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become an effective teacher proficient in the Illinois Teaching Standards. Student teachers also should strive to become thoughtful learners, leaders, inquirers, and community members.

Student Teaching Responsibilities

Throughout the semester, the student teacher must work on the development of technical competencies and reflective teaching. Designing and implementing lessons and units using a variety of instructional strategies/activities; experiencing one-on-one, small group and large group settings; and using a variety of instructional media and resources is a part of the teaching process and should include differentiated instruction.  Student teachers also should participate in all activities and responsibilities required of the cooperating teacher, such as record keeping, grading, conferences, in-services, faculty meetings, etc.

Student Teaching Calendar and Schedule

Student teaching begins and ends on the first and last day of the semester as published in the NEIU Schedule.  Students may not report to a school to begin student teaching or activities associated with it before the official first day of the semester, without written approval of the principal and the Clinical Experiences and Student Teaching Director.

During the student teaching semester, the student teacher follows the calendar of the school/district, not Northeastern Illinois University, with respect to holidays and vacations. Those planning to student teach in the spring semester must not plan travel or vacations in advance of receiving a confirmed student teaching assignment. If advance plans are made and conflict with school/district spring vacation times, travel plans will need to be altered. Teacher candidates who plan vacations in advance of knowing the school district calendar risk being unable to complete their plans as scheduled if the vacation period conflicts with the school/district calendar.

Student teachers are required to function as regular staff members of the school in terms of arrival and departure times. This includes attending school functions such as team meetings, faculty meetings, in-service sessions, and parent/teacher conferences. University courses, employment and extracurricular activities are unacceptable reasons for the student teacher to leave school early or to not attend school functions. Teacher candidates are not to ask their cooperating teachers if they may arrive late or leave early.

Student teachers are to assume the same responsibility for regular attendance that the cooperating teacher does.  This is defined as the full teaching day, including in-services and field trips, for which a cooperating teacher is responsible. 

Phases of Student Teaching

The degree of teaching responsibility assigned to the student teacher is based on the principle of gradual induction. The student teacher's work should progress from observation and assistance to small group instruction to instruction of the entire class as the lead or primary teacher.

All student teachers complete clinical experiences prior to student teaching and, therefore, should be ready to assume responsibilities in the classroom at the start of their student teaching experience. However, it is suggested that the cooperating teacher and student teacher cooperatively develop a teaching schedule that best suits the student teacher's abilities and the needs of the students.

The pace at which classroom responsibilities are assumed is continually re-examined in relation to the student teacher's demonstrated performance and abilities. The assumption of classroom responsibilities should be gradual enough so that the student teacher has time to adjust to added responsibilities, yet rapid enough so that the student teacher faces continuing challenges.

Please note that each student teaching experience is unique to the school and the student teacher. The timelines below are suggested guidelines and may not meet the needs of all student teachers or schools. Cooperating teachers may utilize this plan or develop their own in conjunction with the university supervisor. 

Suggested Student Teaching Timeline

Week 1

Cooperating Teacher welcomes, orients, and socializes the student yeacher to school/classes; provides student teacher with professional resources and professional work space; student teacher observes, engages in orientation activities, and begins to work with students in a professional capacity while developing awareness and understanding of the classroom and school context. The cooperating teacher and student teacher discuss goals/units/course of study. The student teacher begins lesson planning for Week 2/3 guided by the cooperating teacher using lesson plan templates/structures designated by the student teacher's licensure program.

Throughout the Experience

The student teacher and cooperating teacher dialog daily to evaluate progress and reflect on the results of the planning and instruction whether delivered by the cooperating teacher or the student teacher. The cooperating teacher approves all lesson plans in advance and supports the student teacher’s efforts at planning providing guidance, suggestions, and ideas for shaping lessons to meet the needs of the learners in the classroom in ways the student teacher may not have considered. The cooperating teacher directs and observes activities of the student teacher with regard to content and methodology, giving the student teacher opportunities to pose suggestions and ideas more frequently than “directing.” The cooperating teacher and student teacher conference regularly with cooperating teacher providing feedback, stimulating, and participating in reflection with the student teacher to explore instruction and its impact on student learning. The student teacher develops written lesson plans in advance for each day/lesson taught. Full (long-form) lesson plans are developed for each lesson observed by the university supervisor.

Weeks 2-3

The student teacher begins teaching one subject/class period.

Weeks 4-6

Add one subject/class period per week; develop and submit written plans prior to the start of the week for review and consent of Cooperating Teacher; modify as needed; Cooperating Teacher helps Student Teacher reflect upon instructional strategies used and include others.

Weeks 7-8

A written midterm summative evaluation form is completed by the cooperating teacher, discussed with student teacher, signed by all, and submitted to university supervisor.

Weeks 9-12

Full day teaching of all subjects/class periods; guided by cooperating teacher.

Weeks 13-15

The student teacher gradually returns responsibility for subjects/classes to the cooperating teacher (typically one class at a time).

Weeks 15-16

A written summative final evaluation form is completed by the cooperating teacher, discussed with the student teacher, signed by all, and submitted to the university supervisor.

Student Teaching Evaluation

Evaluation is an ongoing process throughout the student teaching semester. Evaluation data is gathered from a variety of sources including:

  1. Observations of the student teacher conducted by the university supervisor and cooperating teacher.
  2. Lesson and unit plans developed and implemented by the student teacher.
  3. Teaching performance evaluations completed by the university supervisor and cooperating teacher.
  4. Student teacher self-evaluation and reflections.

Student teachers have a minimum of five one hour formal observations made by the university supervisor with a post-conference involving the student teacher, the cooperating teacher, and the university supervisor. The observation visit should be scheduled at a time convenient to both the cooperating teacher and university supervisor.

During the student teaching semester, two evaluation conferences (midterm and final) also are conducted with the student teacher, university supervisor, and cooperating teacher in attendance. These conferences should include the analysis of performance of the student teacher and culminate in the completion of the evaluation form that is then forwarded to the Office of Clinical Experiences and Student Teaching.

A grade of "A" or "B" must be earned in the student teaching course to be entitled to receive an Illinois Teaching License.