Part II: Student Teaching

The final stage before certification, student teaching, emphasizes the processes of becoming a teacher and its purpose is the full assumption of the teacher’s role in a learning community. Here the students assume and carry out effectively all the duties and responsibilities of a teacher for which the earlier field experiences have prepared them. Supervising teachers determine if these competencies are displayed by the education students in field settings to an adequate degree to certify them. The supervising teacher evaluates whether the student teacher demonstrates adequate knowledge of the content they are teaching and satisfactory general knowledge to effectively function and teach. They assess the student teacher’s communication, management, planning, presentation and assessment skills. The duties of professionalism—ethics, attitude, development, service, knowledge and execution of duties, knowledge of the school and its context and human relations—will also be evaluated.

Philosophy of Teaching Program

Student teaching is the most important experience in teacher education. 

The Student Teaching Program at Northern Michigan University provides an opportunity to develop and evaluate the students’ competence in an actual school setting. Student teaching is intended to bridge theory and practice. The relationship among university supervisor, supervising teacher and student teacher influences the quality of the student teaching experience. The student teachers need competent and concerned supervisors to help them assume the full range of duties of a teacher. The supervising teacher is a vital influence in a student teacher’s professional growth and development.

Goals of the Student Teaching Program

The major goal of the Student Teaching Program is to provide student teachers a challenging, relevant and rewarding experience, that will allow them to acquire professional competence. This includes the ability to:

  • understand the role and operation of the school
  • respect and work effectively with students of varying backgrounds and cultures
  • assume the various responsibilities of the classroom teacher
  • plan instruction and learning experiences that recognize the individual needs and differences of students
  • organize and manage the classroom environment to maximize learning
  • manage classroom interactions and student conduct to create a positive climate for learning
  • identify and use appropriate instructional techniques, media and methods
  • evaluate learning to determine the extent to which instructional objectives are achieved by students
  • establish positive and effective communication with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members
  • accept and assume the responsibilities associated with being a competent professional and lifelong learner
  • recognize and practice being a reflective teacher.

Application for Student Teaching

Students who are nearing completion of all requirements should plan to attend a student teaching application meeting. They should attend this meeting two semesters in advance of their student teaching on the third Tuesday of October for those planning to student teach the next fall and the third Tuesday of February for those planning to student teach the next winter, from 12:00 to 12:50. Students are required to complete and turn in the Student Teaching Data Card at this meeting or as soon thereafter as possible. They may submit their application for student teaching any time from that date until the second Friday of the next semester.

Materials for the application process will be distributed and reviewed at that orientation meeting (students unable to attend that meeting may pick up materials from the Field Experiences Office, 179 Whitman Hall, in the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service). All required forms must be turned in to the Field Experiences Office no later than the second Friday of the semester before student teaching. Incomplete and/or inadequately prepared applications will not be accepted.

Students must meet all prerequisites for student teaching, as stated in the Teacher Selection and Retention Standards that apply to them. Copies of these standards are available at 179 Whitman Hall. Students who submit the application materials on time will receive priority in placements. Late applications will be processed and assignments made only to the extent that time and openings allow.

Student Teaching Policies

Eligibility for Student Teaching

To be eligible for a student teaching placement, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Compliance with all of the stated admission and retention requirements
  • Removal of all “I” or “X” grades
  • Satisfactory performance in all course practica
  • A “C” or above in each of the following courses where applicable:
    • ED 310, ED 311, ED 312, ED 318, ED 319, ED 306, ED 349, ED 361, MA 353 and any specialized secondary methods course
  • Completion of all course requirements in the student’s major and minor(s). Requests for exceptions of this requirement will be reviewed by the student’s advisor and the Director of Field Experiences
  • Passing the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in Basic Skills
  • Minimum degrees of relevant forms of socialization (see Moral Turpitude)
  • Have passed ED 483 Educational Media
  • Satisfactory completion of the Writing Proficiency Exam
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 2.70 or above
  • Have a 2.70 GPA or above in the major, minor(s), Professional Education Sequence and the planned program and required cognates combined where applicable, with no grade of C- or lower and only one repeat allowed in each category (5 total)
  • Meet all requirements for and have been accepted into Phase II of the program.


The Director of Field Experiences is responsible for all student teaching assignments. Although the prospective student teacher may express a preference, the final decision as to geographical area, school system and teacher is made by the Director of Field Experiences in cooperation with area schools.

Elementary, special and secondary education students at Northern Michigan University who have completed all of the prerequisites are assigned to cooperating schools for a full university semester. Various patterns of assignments are possible. Special education students normally do the first eight weeks in their base certification area and the second eight weeks in a special education setting. Other students normally do a full-term assignment, but may apply for a split assignment. In the full term assignment, the student teacher is assigned to one supervising teacher for the entire term. In the split assignment, the student teacher is generally assigned eight weeks of the term with one teacher and the following eight weeks with another. They may split among different teachers for part of the day throughout the semester.

The advantages of a full term assignment are that a student teacher gets to develop a long term and in-depth experience with a teacher and a group of students. The advantages of a split assignment are that the student teacher gets to have a broader experience with different teachers, grade levels, subjects and/or settings. Having a breadth of experience may be useful in determining what your abilities and interests are.

Students in secondary education programs of K-12 programs will first be interviewed by the university supervisor for their major. That supervisor will make recommendations for placement to the Field Experience Office. Secondary education students are assigned in the area of their majors in the middle and/or high school level and, if practical, in the area of their minors. Physical education, art and music majors obtain a K-12 endorsement in their major on a secondary certificate. These students may be assigned to an elementary, middle and/or secondary school.

Additional endorsements to existing teaching certificates may be sought by some post-degree students and require a minimum of eight weeks of student teaching.

Students are assigned to selected schools in the Upper Peninsula and Northeastern Wisconsin. Placements are made in centers that are currently open. Students are not allowed to student teach at a school they attended or with which they or a close relative have been affiliated.

Paid internships of $4,500 or more in selected Wisconsin schools are available. Interns assume no more than 50% of a workload for a full time teacher in the district while they are responsible for their own class. Interested students should contact the Director or for more information.

There are limited opportunities for students to complete their student teaching assignments overseas or in culturally diverse schools. Interested students should inquire at the Field Experience Office and the International Affairs Office. Requests for assignments in areas other than the designated student teaching centers should be made in writing to the Director of Field Experiences. Financial considerations are not adequate justification for a student to complete an assignment outside the designated areas.

A student may be allowed to student teach through another university under the following considerations:

  • The student was married during the academic year prior to the requested assignment
  • The spouse is required to move for the purpose of employment
  • Transfer to another university would pose a severe academic hardship
  • There is an acceptable host University willing to supervise the student teacher
  • Student desires to teach in a school of greater cultural diversity than is generally found in our area (20% or more minority school population)

A student with a student teaching assignment outside the designated centers will be required to pay additional costs for supervision.

Only teachers whom the school has recommended and who meet Northern’s criteria will be considered for supervising student teachers. Teachers must first voluntarily decide if they are willing to work with student teachers. They should interview the prospective student teachers and have them spend some time in their classroom before student teaching to help insure a successful student teaching experience.

Liability Insurance

Northern Michigan University’s legal liability insurance includes coverage for our students when performing services under the direction of the University when engaged in approved academic programs. This includes legal liability coverage for student teachers and their actions while placed in a student teaching situation. This coverage does not include activities outside of student teaching.


Students are to free themselves of campus and work responsibilities during the week while student teaching to allow for a full-time commitment to teaching. Student teachers may work Friday evening (6:00 p.m.) to Sunday evening (6:00 p.m.). However, student teachers may be asked to terminate work should the activities interfere with their performance in school. Students may be involved in activities that are commonly done by teachers such as coaching and tutoring.

Additional Coursework

Students are encouraged to enroll in ED 222 Classroom Management or ED 223 Multicultural Education during student teaching. These classes are scheduled the morning of seminars and are valuable resources to the student teacher. Other than these two classes, additional coursework is discouraged, but students meeting several criteria may request an exception to this policy.

The Calendar

During student teaching all students are expected to begin with and adhere to the school calendar in the school district to which they are assigned. Vacations are scheduled according to  the school district calendar. The final date of student teaching is generally the Wednesday before the end of Northern’s semester.


Student teachers are expected to be in attendance every day for a full day. Daily arrival and departure times will follow the daily schedule of the supervising teacher. Only two absences, whether for illness or personal reasons, are allowed. All other absences must be made up. Absences for personal business are discouraged. Students are expected to have affairs in order before student  teaching begins. Student teachers are allowed two additional days for absences for teaching job interviews, if needed, and approved by the supervising teacher.

Seminar Attendance

Student teachers are required to attend all seminars which are generally held 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on four Fridays during the student teaching semester. Seminars will include topics such as human relations, classroom management and organization, effective planning and teaching, placement, employment and certification, as well as other topics that address the needs and concerns of student teachers. Seminar dates are listed on the calendar of when reports are due and in the schedule of classes. Students enrolled in ED 222 Classroom Management or ED 223 Multicultural Education will generally have classes from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on those same Fridays. Student teachers are excused from their classroom duties to attend these classes.


Students who enroll in student teaching make a commitment to the goals, responsibilities and expectations outlined in this Guide. The following procedure should be used when a student teacher has difficulty fulfilling these responsibilities:

  1. An initial conference on the matter between the supervising teacher and the student teacher should be held. Conferences should be held frequently between the supervising teacher and student teacher. Early identification and addressing of problems aids in their solution.
  2. If the problem is not resolved, the supervising teacher should contact the university supervisor and arrange a conference with the student teacher, the supervising teacher and the university supervisor as soon as possible. The building administrator may need to be involved in this conference.
  3. If this procedure is ineffective in reaching resolution, the problem will be referred to the Director of Field Experiences. The Director will seek resolution and determine if reassignment or removal from student teaching should occur.

Moral Turpitude

Moral turpitude as a ground for academic dismissal from the Professional Teacher Education Program means any intentional act prohibited by statute that has the effect of contributing to the delinquency of a minor; which constitutes child abuse or which otherwise involves a minor; which constitutes or involves a form of sexual conduct described or defined by statute; which involves trafficking in drugs or controlled substances; which involves pornographic materials; which involves wrongful entry, larceny, embezzlement or receiving stolen property; which involves perjury, bribery, graft, forgery, counterfeiting or smuggling; or which involves fraud, deceit or intentional dishonesty for purposes of personal gain.

Use of Student Teachers as Substitutes

NMU allows student teachers to substitute teach as part of their student teaching experience according to the following criteria/guidelines:

  • Districts and supervising teachers must ensure that the quality of instruction provided to student teachers who are allowed to substitute teach is comparable to that required in our traditional student teaching program.
  • Student teachers may substitute teach only in the classroom in which they are student teaching.
  • Student teachers are not to substitute teach more than 10 days during their student teaching.
  • The student teacher, cooperating teacher, school administrator/district and university supervisor must approve of the substitute teaching.
  • An accurate record of the dates and experiences must be kept by the school and available to the university.
  • The substitute teaching must not conflict with a university supervisor’s visit. The university supervisor must be notified in a timely manner so that it will not conflict with supervisory or student teaching responsibilities.
  • The student teachers will be available to cover the supervising teacher’s classroom on those days, such as TEAC meetings, where the absence of the supervisor from the classroom is necessary for the promotion of the student teacher program. This is part of student teaching and not considered substitute teaching for which they would be paid.
  • The student teachers will be paid the same as a regular substitute teacher and meet the necessary requirements for substitute teaching by the district.

The Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC) sponsors programs for supervisors of student teachers that require their absence from the classroom. Student teachers may be left in charge of their classroom without a substitute teacher on these days. Other cases should be cleared with the Director of Field Experiences.

NOTE:  Michigan requires fingerprint clearance for employment as a substitute teacher and certified teacher. Fingerprinting is available at NMU through Public Safety. It takes approximately three months for Federal and State clearance. Students wishing to have clearance should begin the process accordingly. Most schools have their requirements that must be met before a student teacher is eligible to substitute teach. It is the student’s responsibility to meet all requirements.

Evaluation Procedures

The evaluation of the student teacher is the primary responsibility of the supervising teacher. Supervising teachers are encouraged to help the student teachers evaluate themselves through such techniques as conferencing and videotaping. Supervising teachers electronically submit three evaluation reports as described in this section and can be found at the following Northern Michigan University School of Education, Leadership and Public Service website: /education/node/153 (See Appendix). If reports cannot be electronically submitted, student teachers may hand carry the reports to the seminar.  Submission dates are specified on the student teaching calendar sent to supervising teachers. It is the responsibility of the supervising teacher and university supervisor to ensure that the student teacher receives timely and continuous feedback on his or her performance. The student recommended for certification must possess the skills and maturity to be a successful teacher.

Student teacher evaluation forms provide the supervisor with opportunities to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a student teacher. These reports profile the student’s competency in subject matter, instruction, assessment and professionalism.  Letter grades are not used for evaluating a student teacher's performance as they inhibit the development of a counselor-learner relationship between the supervising teacher and a student teacher. 

Student teachers will receive one of the following grades:           

S ( satisfactory with certification)

P ( pass grade for credit but no certification)

U ( unsatisfactory, no credit or certification)

Supervising teachers are to check the appropriate level on the final evaluation.

The Michigan Department of Education requires all teacher preparation institutions to use the state approved criteria for assessment of entry-level pedagogical skills for each student teacher.

NOTE:  A Final Evaluation rating of a P will result in an S grade; a rating of an I will result in a P grade and a rating of a B will result in a U grade.

The evaluation criteria below include the numbers and letters of the standards and proficiencies in parentheses from the Criteria for an Assessment of Pedagogy based on the State Board of Education Entry Level Standards for Michigan Teachers.  See Appendix.

The student teaching evaluation forms are based upon the duties of a teacher: knowledge base, instructional competence, assessment competence and professionalism. Supervising teachers must determine whether these competencies are demonstrated by the student teacher to an adequate degree and then support their assessments. The duties listed on the evaluation of student teacher forms are described below and should be referred to in assessing the student teacher’s level of proficiency.

The supervising teachers will check Proficient, Improving, Basic or No Comment/Not Observed for each of the following bulleted categories:

Knowledge Base

All preservice teachers must demonstrate a satisfactory level of competence in their subject matter and general knowledge through required courses and standardized tests before they are allowed to student teach. University students who do not meet minimal standards set by the University on general and specific content area tests and in performance in college courses are not admitted into teacher education or are not allowed to continue. The supervising teacher should evaluate whether the student can apply this knowledge effectively in a teaching situation and can meet the following criteria.

  •     Content areas
  •      Understands the subject matter and current research (5a*).
  •      Demonstrates accurate, appropriate and comprehensive knowledge about the subjects taught to the degree needed to effectively teach the curriculum (3f).
  •      Engages students in practical activities that demonstrate the relevance, purpose and function of the subject matter (3f).
  •      Integrates and transfers knowledge across subject areas (3c).
  •      General knowledge
  •      Has an understanding and appreciation of the humanities, social sciences, arts, mathematical and natural sciences and technology (1a, 1b, 1h). 
  •      Communicates the value of liberal arts knowledge to their students, including an appreciation of the interrelationships among subjects(1c). 
  •      Demonstrates a global and multicultural perspective (1e, 1f, 1l). 
  •      Accesses and uses updated information and procedures (3g).

*See the Appendix to find these Standards and Proficiencies from the Criteria for Assessment of Pedagogy.

Instructional Competence

Preservice teachers must not only have adequate knowledge, they must also be able to teach. The university evaluates these skills through testing, coursework and field experiences. Students unable to demonstrate adequate communication skills, as measured through standardized tests and required coursework, are not permitted to progress through the teacher education program. Through pre-student teaching field experiences, students' management skills are only superficially explored. Student teaching is the primary source of data for these skills. Lesson/unit planning and presentation, including the use of materials and technology, are taught and initially evaluated in the methods classes at the university.

  •      Communication skills
  •     Communicates what is to be learned so that students understand and value the learning.
  •     Demonstrates effective speaking, listening, reading and writing skills (1a).
  •     Uses appropriate and grammatically correct language.
  •     Has congruent verbal and nonverbal communication.
  •      Management of students' behavior
  •     Controls classroom behavior in an effective and fair manner (2d).
  •     Organizes and manages classroom to maximize learning.
  •     Establishes and carries out effective classroom rules, procedures and routines.
  •     Provides a positive learning environment.
  •     Encourages individual responsibility (1k).
  •     Respects individual rights (1k).
  •      Management of learning progress
  •     Manages learning progress so that the curriculum is covered appropriately and efficiently (5c). Makes smooth transitions and is able to handle varying ability levels and activities.
  •     Manages assignments and time efficiently.
  •     Ensures quality time on learning tasks and accomplishes what has to be done.
  •     Demonstrates knowledge about instructional management resources (7d).
  •     Uses high expectations for optimal achievement (3c).
  •      Management of contingencies/emergencies
  •     Applies district and building policies (4f).
  •     Reasonably and responsibly copes with the frequent contingencies and occasional emergencies of classroom teaching.
  •     Demonstrates critical and creative thinking abilities through effective decision making under pressure.
  •     Ensures a safe and orderly environment conducive to learning (2d).
  •      Lesson/unit planning
  •     Develops effective lessons and units within the contexts of the curriculum and assessment.
  •     Uses curricular frameworks as a means to developing student's inquiry and thinking skills (3g).
  •     Applies knowledge of human growth, development and learning theory (2a).
  •     Plans instruction to accommodate diversity (2e, 2f, 4a).
  •     Uses a variety of methodologies, technologies and techniques (4b, 7d, 7e).
  •      Lesson/unit presentation
  •     Presents lessons and units so that the instructional objectives are efficiently realized.
  •     Creates meaningful learning experiences that help all students understand the subject matter based on each student's abilities, attitudes, effort, culture and achievement (2h).
  •     Expands cognitive, affective, physical and social capabilities of students (2b).
  •     Uses a variety of teaching methodologies, technologies and techniques (4b, 7d, 7e).
  •      Use of materials and resources
  •     Is familiar with and able to use a variety of literacies, materials and resources (2i, 7c).
  •     Selects, creates and incorporates appropriate instructional techniques, technology and materials needed for instruction (7a, 7e).
  •     Demonstrates current knowledge about instruction, resources and technology (7b, 7c).
  •     Helps students access and use information technology and other resources to become independent learners and problem solvers (3b).
Assessment Competence

Preservice teachers are taught about assessment but have little practical knowledge before student teaching. Assessing, grading and reporting are essential elements in teaching introduced in education classes and concurrent field experiences. Accurate self-evaluation of teaching and curricula are encouraged throughout the program.

  •      Selection, creation and use of student assessments
  •     Understands evaluation and assessment, including test construction and administration (4e).
  •     Knows and uses multiple approaches to assess student abilities and the merit of a student's work (2g).
  •     Values and develops a variety of reliable and valid assessment measures.
  •      Grading and reporting student achievement
  •     Understands and appreciates the grading/ranking/scoring process and how to report achievement.
  •     Grades and reports fairly, honestly, clearly, consistently, efficiently and helpfully.
  •     Uses technology to organize, manage, evaluate and communicate information about student performance (7d).
  •      Evaluation of teaching, materials and curriculum
  •     Assesses instructional, assessment and professional competence of themselves and others (4b).
  •     Self evaluates and reflects on the course, materials and curriculum and makes improvements (5h). Uses assessments to inform instruction.


The preservice education program tries to select students who have the attributes needed in a professional educator and to develop these attributes through the experiences required of these students and the expectations held for them.

  •     Professional ethics
  •         Understands the value of education and the role of intellectual and ethical values (1d, 7f).
  •         Models moral standards that are expected in the profession, such as confidentiality, fairness, honesty, trustworthiness and integrity.
  •         Models a commitment to intellectual, moral and professional virtues.
  •     Professional attitude
  •         Collaborates with all stakeholders in education (6d, 6e).
  •         Values learning, students, teaching and schooling (5h).
  •         Demonstrates openness, courtesy, conscientiousness, reliability, caring and compassion.
  •         Identifies with professional educators.
  •         Dresses and behaves professionally.
  •         Discerns the extent to which personal belief systems and values may affect the instructional process (2c). 
  •     Professional development/service
  •         Is involved in professional development and service activities (7g).
  •         Performs non-teaching duties required of a teacher such as administrative tasks (attendance, out-of-class supervision) and school or community services (committee work, participation in events).
  •         Accepts teaching as a lifelong learning process and continues efforts to develop and improve (5e).
  •         Uses community and home resources to enhance school programs (6a, 6b).
  •     Knowledge and execution of duties
  •         Understands and effectively deals with issues of professional policy and practice at local, state, national and international levels (5d, 6c).
  •         Understands responsibilities associated with being a competent professional, including following laws, regulations, policies, requirements and procedures (4f).
  •         Involves and works effectively with all support personnel (4c).
  •         Exercises good judgment in planning and managing time and other resources (5b).
  •     Knowledge of the school and its context
  •         Understands the evolution of education and the teacher’s role in a changing society (5g).
  •         Understands the special characteristics and circumstances related to the students, staff, school and community (4a, 5f).
  •         Develops practices to promote collaborative, supportive interaction in the classroom, school and community (4d, 6d, 6e).
  •         Demonstrates an understanding of the economic, social, political, legal and organizational foundations and functions of schools (5d).
  •     Human relations
  •         Establishes positive and effective relationships with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members (1f, 5f).
  •         Demonstrates appreciation of cultural diversity, individual differences and exceptionalities of students (2e, 2f).
  •         Discourages prejudice and unfair discrimination in their classrooms.

Understands and respects varying points of view and the influence of one’s own on others (1g).

The Report Process

All reports are to be submitted electronically and may be obtained from the following website /education/node/153 All students are expected to successfully teach one full day before the first progress report, one week before the mid-term report and two additional weeks before the final report. Failure to meet these requirements indicates a weakness in the student teacher’s progress.

The First Progress Report

The First Progress Report is due the fourth Friday of student teaching according to the Student Teaching Calendar. This report is an assessment of the student teacher's baseline performance and conveys important information about the student's competencies to the university supervisor and the Director of Field Experiences. The supervising teachers should indicate any initial concerns they may have on this form. The students teacher should have taught one full day before sending in this report.

The Mid-Term and Final Evaluation

The Mid-Term Evaluation is submitted halfway through the semester and the Final Evaluation is due the last Friday of student teaching. Students may obtain hard copies of these evaluation forms with the Director’s signature from our office for their credential files. The supervising teacher is to make additional comments to extend or substantiate the profile. Opportunities to email copies of these reports to yourself, your student teacher and the university or classroom supervisor are given at the end of the form. For student teachers doing a split assignment, the second supervising teacher should be given a copy of the Mid-Term Evaluation.

The University Supervisor’s Report

The University Supervisor's Report uses the same categories as the evaluation forms used by the supervising teacher in the first progress report. The university supervisor should make at least one visitation each calendar month of student teaching. The university supervisor completes a report and shares his/her observations with the student teacher and supervising teacher following each observation. University supervisors are encouraged to help student teachers evaluate themselves through such techniques as conferencing, surveying and videotaping. The university supervisor should consult with the supervising teacher concerning the student teacher's progress during each visit and, if needed, between visits. The University Supervisor also completes a final evaluation of the student teacher.