Field Experience

Student Teaching

Field Experience

All students in the English Education program participate in 3 formal classroom field experiences during the course of their program:

  • An 8-week field experience of 15 hours/week (120 hours total) in conjunction with EDTL:4314 during the first or second semester in the program
  • A shorter 6-week field experience in conjunction with EDTL:4315
  • Student teaching during the final semester

In addition to these formal experiences, students have many opportunities in their other coursework to interact with secondary-aged students. Partnerships include the following:

  • Writing exchanges with the UI Academic Seminar LINK program and students enrolled in Approaches to Teaching Writing
  • Writing exchanges with students from Kirkwood Regional Center and students enrolled in Approaches to Teaching Writing
  • Partnerships with Kennedy High School, Highland Jr. Sr. High School, and Iowa City High School in which students enrolled in Methods: Reading practice teach reading strategies
  • Cross-disciplinary collaboration with Counseling Psychology through Project Hope where students enrolled in Learning to Teach Secondary English/Language Arts participate in a creative writing “intervention” for middle school students in West Liberty and Columbus Junction, Iowa
  • Writing workshops in area middle/high schools and the Shelter House in conjunction with the Iowa Youth Writing Project

EDTL:4314 Introduction and Practicum: English/Speech

This course places students in local classrooms for 15 hours/week for 8 weeks (120 hours total) of the semester in which students are enrolled and must be taken during a student’s first or second semester in the program. In addition to gaining experience in the classroom, this exposure helps ensure students that teaching is the right career choice for them. Students should plan to take the practicum during a semester where they have a fairly flexible schedule since they will be in schools at least three hours a day. An accompanying Seminar that meets twice a week is also a component of the class. The field experience begins six weeks into the semester, at which point Seminar meets once a week.

In Practicum, students also participate in an after-school tutoring/mentoring program at one of the junior high schools in the Iowa City School District once a week for the entire semester. This is an experience that the class does together, from driving to and from the school in University vans, to collaborating as they assist individual students with their homework, to sharing stories and asking questions about the experience together as a class.

EDTL:4315 Learning to Teach Secondary English/Language Arts & Field Experience

This course places students in a 6-week experience twice a week in an area literacy classroom that serves as a home context as they learn the planning process. Placements are generally 4-6 hours a week, totaling 25-30 hours total. The goal of the experience is to have students return to the classroom and view it through the eyes of planning. Most placements are in a classroom in an area school, though sometimes a student has an interest in teaching on the community college level and we generally can accommodate such a request. Other students opt to return to their practicum placement, while still others want to explore a particular placement as a precursor for student teaching.

Student Teaching

EDTL:4087 Seminar: Curriculum and Student Teaching

The student teaching semester is the culmination of any teacher-education program It allows teacher candidates to apply knowledge from their coursework to a real teaching situation over an extended period of time. This is the most vital and critical phase of a teacher’s preparation; the goal is to professionalize teacher candidates as confident, informed, reflective practitioners who are committed to students’ learning, passionate and knowledgeable about their subject, and grounded in theory. We are proud of our English Education graduates. Many of them serve as mentors to our student teachers regularly.


Our placement assignments provide optimal growth for each of our teacher candidates. We are careful to select each school, classroom, and cooperating teacher with each student teacher in mind. Each student teacher works one-on-one, all semester, with both the supervising classroom teacher and a carefully selected college supervisor who has had prior experience as a classroom teacher. The English Education program is diligent about finding supervisors and area cooperating teachers who are enthusiastic mentors, highly competent colleagues, and familiar with the theories and practices we teach. Our partnerships with area schools are strong, supportive, and reflect longtime working relationships. In addition, each student teacher attends a weekly on-campus seminar that considers common concerns related to the teaching of English and preparatory materials for the job market: the resume, the teaching philosophy, the electronic portfolio, the interview process. We make every effort to create a positive learning experience for each student teacher, a model for what we hope they’ll do for their own students.


Most of our English Education students spend their student teaching semester at schools within driving distance of the University of Iowa. However, a few candidates apply each semester for permission to student teach at a special site. The College of Education has established partnerships with a number of school districts that allow our teacher candidates to experience both urban and rural, more linguistically diverse school settings different from the area surrounding the university. These include Aldine, TX; Rialto, CA; and Las Vegas, NV. Our students apply, too, for special sites in the Chicago area and within driving distance of the other Iowa Regents’ Institutions (the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and Iowa State University in Ames).

Special-site placements require that the student teaching responsibilities be completed without the support of the university community (seminar assignments, e-Portfolio requirements, application for licensure, consultations with peers and professors). While student teachers at special sites do maintain contact with a selected University supervisor, they miss the weekly support of others who are familiar with the program’s course of study. For these reasons, our application for special site placement requires additional steps and a thorough review by the English Education faculty. We base our collective faculty decisions on students’ ability to work independently and overall performance in the program. For this reason, we strongly advise our students to discuss their special site plans with their faculty advisors before applying.


  1. Submit the special-site application along with your student teaching application (available from the Office of Student Field Experiences) one full academic year before the student teaching semester.
  2. Write a clearly articulated rationale (500-800 words) that explains your reason(s) for a special-site placement, and submit it with your application.
  3. Maintain a 3.0 overall University of Iowa grade point average and in your program area.
  4. To be considered, we expect you to demonstrate qualities of independence, maturity, and ability to meet deadlines throughout your course of study.