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School of Education

Field Experiences for Teacher Certification

School-based field experiences are a critical part of students' professional preparation for teaching. In fact, student teaching is frequently cited as the single component of a teacher education program with the highest impact on future teaching behaviors of teacher candidates. For these reasons, teacher certification students are required to complete at least one pre–student teaching practicum and at least one full semester of student teaching.

The length of the student teaching assignment and vacation schedule are governed by local school district calendars rather than the university calendar. Thus, fall semester assignments start in late August and end in mid-January; spring teaching assignments typically begin the latter part of January and conclude the early part of June. Students should consider these extended calendar dates as they might affect housing, budget, employment, etc., during student teaching. These experiences are considered to be full-time semester assignments that usually preclude carrying additional course work or other employment. 

The student teaching experience can occur in a traditional student teaching placement, a student internship, or an international student teaching placement. All these options are considered full-time assignments. The traditional student teaching placement is a full-time, local school-district semester of student teaching. An internship is a school-semester teaching assignment designed by the cooperating school and the University of Wisconsin–Madison and occur very infrequently at UW–Madison. International student teaching experiences are coordinated by International Academic Programs.

Find detailed policies and regulations regarding student teaching in the Student Teaching Handbook. Examples of policies and regulations of field experiences:

  • Due to the number of individuals involved in the placement process, and because established procedures have been approved by cooperating school personnel, under no circumstances should a student or a cooperating teacher request a specific student teaching placement.
  • Students may need access to a vehicle as there are no promises of placements near housing/campus.

Student Teaching Application Procedures

Information related to student teaching and the application process is available on the School of Education website. Please be aware that some program areas require students to file an application far in advance of the student teaching semester.

Wisconsin state regulations require that student teachers demonstrate that they are free of tuberculosis before being allowed to work in a school. Students must submit the negative result of a recent TB skin test signed by a health professional no later than one semester prior to the student teaching experience. Test results are valid for two years from the ending date of the student teaching semester. Please note: Some school districts are requiring a TB Test completed within 90 days of placement. Tests may be obtained through University Health Services for a fee. 

General Eligibility Requirements for Student Teaching

Minimum eligibility requirements apply to all students. Several subject areas require a specific grade point average unique to a particular program, or additional course work as a prerequisite to student teaching. Students are urged to check with their Education Academic Services and faculty advisors to be certain that all eligibility requirements have been met. Students should check these items well in advance to preclude last-minute schedule conflicts in preparation for the student teaching semester. Minimum requirements are:

  • Admission to a School of Education certification program.
  • Completion of all course prerequisites, such as the teaching methods course(s) and pre–student teaching practica. Students should check for other possible course requirements in their specific area of study.
  • Passing a content examination in the certification area(s).
  • For world languages, an immersion experience and the appropriate score on the oral and written proficiency examinations.

Special Placements

Extraordinary circumstances or special needs may occasionally require a student to be placed outside the UW–Madison service area. The UW–Madison service area is program specific and ranges from 25 to 50 miles. Special placements usually entail additional fees for the student. Routine requests for placement near a student’s permanent home will almost always be refused. See staff at Education Academic Services for information on special placements.

Withdrawing From/Failing Field Experience Assignments

Withdrawing from a field experience has serious implications for the student’s progress in the program. Students should consult with the program coordinator before taking such an action. Students who drop either student teaching or required practica courses must obtain permission from the faculty advisor and from the appropriate associate dean to repeat the course. If such a course is dropped a second time, the student may request to be graduated without being professionally certified or may elect to transfer from the current program to complete another degree program on campus.

In programs where more than one practicum or student teaching experience is required, withdrawal from one field experience will require special permission to enroll in these experiences in the future. If a grade of F, N (no credit), or U (unsatisfactory) is received in student teaching or in courses within required practica, the course may be repeated only if the faculty advisor, the supervisor of the practicum or student teaching, and the associate dean give approval.