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Clinical/Student Teaching Experience

Student teachers work in actual classrooms and schools for a minimum of 16 weeks. They are expected to be in attendance each day the school is in session and for a period of time each day that is comparable to that of the building’s certified staff. Student teachers should expect to devote adequate out-of-school time to lesson planning, review and evaluation of student assignments, and participation in school and community activities.

Lesson Planning

The student teacher is expected to prepare written lesson plans far enough in advance to permit review and approval by the mentor teacher prior to their use in the classroom. The mentor teacher and the student teacher, jointly, will determine the teaching units for which the student teacher will be responsible and the appropriate schedule for these units.


Conferences between the student teacher and the mentor teacher are a major vehicle for communication, review and examination, planning, and evaluation. It is expected that the mentor teacher will schedule a major conference with the student teacher each week and will participate in informal daily conferences. Both individuals should be able to express feelings and concerns candidly and in a friendly manner, raise questions, exchange information, and make suggestions. The conference should result in the formulation of an explicit action plan for the immediate future.

Student Teaching Absence Policy

Absences must be kept to a minimum and tardiness is never acceptable. Students who fail to complete the required number of days may cause their graduation and/or certification to be delayed. Student teachers may be excused, however, for documented legitimate reasons. Such reasons include the following:

  • Personal illness          
  • Death in the family      
  • Job Interviews*
  • Professional meetings* 

If there is a personal illness or death in the family, the student should notify the mentor teacher and the university supervisor as soon as practical. 

*Absences for personal/professional purposes such as interviews and professional meetings require prior approval and may result in the student teacher being required to make-up the time lost. Prior to the absence, the student teacher must secure the consent of the supervising teacher  and the university supervisor. In cases in which the absence or tardiness policy is not followed, the mentor teacher must contact the university supervisor or the Coordinator for University Field and Clinical Experiences immediately J-Richmond@wiu.edu or 309-298-1281. 

Absences will not be approved for vacations, personal trips or non-professional absences.


Evaluation of the performance of the student teacher is an essential part of the student teaching program. It forms the basis for recommendations for certification and provides information desired by potential employers. Evaluation of the student teacher’s overall performance and specific teaching skills is the responsibility of the mentor teacher and university supervisor.  During the semester, feedback on performance and suggestions for improvement will represent much of the content of the daily and weekly conferences as well as weekly reflections.

 Midterm Evaluation of Student Teaching

Midway through the student teaching experience the mentor teacher will provide the student teacher with an assessment of her or his performance and progress. The completed formative evaluation should be used to inform the student teacher of progress and be a basis for discussion of observed strengths or weaknesses and planning for the remainder of the experience. It must be signed by the mentor teacher and student teacher with a copy given to the student teacher.

Final Evaluation of Student Teaching

The final evaluation of a student teacher is to be prepared by the mentor teacher. It must be signed by the mentor teacher and the student teacher with a copy given to the student teacher. 

Withdrawal from Assignment

When necessary, a student teacher may withdraw from the student teaching program or the University by following the procedure described in the current Undergraduate Catalog. The student teacher should notify the Coordinator of Field and Clinical Experiences of his/her intention to withdraw as early as possible.

Grade Appeal

Grade appeal procedures may be found in the current WIU Undergraduate Catalog, current WIU Student Handbook and on the WIU website. http://www.wiu.edu/policies/gradapp.php#mtwo

Note: Academic dishonesty cases shall be adjudicated by the Center Grade Appeal Committee, according to the procedure described in the University's Academic Dishonesty Statement. In such cases, the University supervisor shall assign the student an "Incomplete" (I) until a resolution of the problem is reached.


Student teachers are responsible for arranging their own housing during the student teaching experience.  He/she will also be required to provide his/her transportation to and from the clinical/student teaching site.  He/she must attest when using his/her personal auto, that he/she is covered by valid auto insurance which provides at least the limits of coverage statutorily required to legally operate the vehicle in Illinois and all other jurisdictions when he/she travel.  (Refer to the student teaching application.)

Working During the Student Teaching Experience

Working during student teaching is also discouraged because of its probable negative effect upon performance in the classroom. Student teachers who find it necessary to seek or continue outside employment other than on weekends must communicate this information to their University Supervisor. If, in the judgment of the University Supervisor, such employment is interfering with the student teaching experience, the University Supervisor may require the student teacher to adjust his or her employment schedule, discontinue working, or withdraw from student teaching.

School Strike

In the event of a teacher strike, student teachers shall not engage in any student teacher or teaching activities in the affected school and shall not engage in any action which supports or opposes the strike. The University Supervisor may permanently reassign the student teacher to another school district.


Student teachers are afforded the same liability protection as that provided for certified personnel in the school district under the provision of the Illinois School Code. The exercise of normal prudence will decrease the chances for liability-creating events to occur and charges of negligence to be made. Evidence to prudent planning and operating include careful lesson planning by the student teacher, with approval by the mentor teacher prior to teaching; clear delineation of the duties and responsibilities of the student teacher; and adequate supervision by the mentor teacher. If the mentor teacher is absent, a substitute teacher shall be employed even though three may be an agreement that the student teacher will perform the actual teaching duties.

Note: In accordance with WIU policy, student teachers are not to be involved in the physical restraint of students. Nor should they participate in any training seminars or inservices on the use of physical restraint.      

Payment, Reimbursement, and Gifts

Under no circumstances is a student teacher to receive remuneration for her or his services as a student teacher. The student teacher may not be paid for extra-curricular activities in the district where the student teaching experience takes place.

Medical Benefits and Services

Full-time students are eligible for medical insurance benefits made available by the University when they are enrolled in full-time student teaching. The University does not provide all services or compensation in all cases. When there is reasonable doubt concerning responsibility, student teachers should contact Student Health Services at (309) 298-1888 for clarification.