MAT Field Experiences and Student Teaching

Creating Competent, Caring, Qualified Professional Educators and Reflective Practitioners requires the application of knowledge and skills learned in class and through course materials. Reading, writing, and talking about teaching are necessary but not sufficient activities for preparing educators.


Opportunities for active involvement with students and teachers promote an awareness of the impact of the contexts and elements of school settings on teachers’ roles, teaching strategies, aspects of child and adolescent growth, and opportunities to learn. 

Introduction: The School of Education & Public Service requires field experiences for particular courses. For MAT candidates seeking initial licensure, experiences in classrooms with classroom children and teachers are critical to their development and ability to be fully prepared for student teaching. For MAE and M.Ed. candidates, field experiences augment course material and allow opportunity for critical reflection on their own teaching practices.  For all candidates, field experiences should make clear and relevant the link between theory and practice.

What are field experiences?: Field Experience is time spent completing university course-based activities in a school or other educational setting, engaged with P-12 stakeholders, students, or school faculty, and potentially under the supervision of a cooperating teacher or another school personnel. Ideally, candidates will not spend all hours observing only. Candidates are to ask Cooperating Teachers to be involved in instructional activities. 

Field Experiences should be conducted in a single classroom whenever possible, in 1-hour increments. Individual faculty may have different expectations, which will be communicated in the syllabus.

What counts as “field experiences?”: For candidates in MAE (those holding valid teacher licenses), reflections and other graded work done in their classrooms related to course content may be considered Field Experience. When possible, candidates may be asked to observe other teachers at their schools in order to complete field experience assignments.

For candidates in MAT (those seeking an initial teacher’s license) Field Experiences are to be conducted in P-12 classrooms or other educational settings (e.g. school board meetings). Field experiences include graded and structured observation activities, hands-on work with small groups of students, or classroom instruction. 

Candidates are to take The field Experience Activity Report to the Cooperating Teacher for Field Experiences and ask them to sign for each hour spent in the classroom. These forms are to be turned in to individual Instructor.

All candidates are to ask their cooperating teacher to email the Administrative Assistant to request a link to an online evaluation form. The TEP I Field Experiences Evaluation Form can be viewed, but only data submitted through the online data base will be accepted.  NOTE: sometimes emails cannot be sent directly to schools because they get blocked by SPAM filters; PLEASE ASK YOUR COOPERATING TEACHER TO EMAIL education@cumberland.edu FOR A LINK TO THE ONLINE EVALUATION DATA BASE. Teachers need to send an email from a school-based email address.


Where are field experiences conducted?: Field Experiences are to be completed at accredited public or private P-12 educational settings in the candidate’s local area. When possible, candidates should complete these hours at different schools for different courses. Field experiences cannot be completed in non-school settings; in rare cases this may be approved by the course instructor if the work is conducted with stakeholders in the P-12 setting (e.g. parents, community leaders, etc.).

NOTE: Field Experiences for MAE5080 Diverse Populations and MAE5250 Building Literacy for the K-12 Classroom must be completed by ALL CANDIDATES in schools or classrooms with highly diverse student populations. Candidates will complete this form and have it signed by the Cooperating Teacher to verify.

Where are field experiences conducted?: Field Experiences are to be completed at accredited public or private P-12 educational settings in the candidate’s local area. When possible, candidates should complete these hours at different schools for different courses. Field experiences cannot be completed in non-school settings; in rare cases this may be approved by the course instructor if the work is conducted with stakeholders in the P-12 setting (e.g. parents, community leaders, etc.).

NOTE: Field Experiences for MAE/MAT 5080 Diverse Populations and MAE/MAT 5250 Building Literacy for the K-12 Classroom must be completed by ALL CANDIDATES in schools or classrooms with highly diverse student populations. Candidates will complete Classroom Demographics Form and have it signed by the Cooperating Teacher to verify.

Field Experience Procedures

Securing permission to complete Field Experiences at a school is the responsibility of the candidates. Once permission is granted, contact information (school email addresses and phone numbers) for both the cooperating teacher and the principal at the participating school must be sent to the course instructor and the Coordinator of Field Experiences.

Cooperating teachers will be contacted by course instructors or the Coordinator of Field Experiences for evaluations of graduate candidates’ dispositions during Field Experiences.

Candidates are to have their cooperating teachers sign the Field Experiences Activity Report for the hours the candidate completes. Hours spent with teachers in a classroom are to be completed incrementally in one- or two-hour blocks maximum. Exceptions to this policy may be made with the express written consent of the cooperating teacher,  and with permission from the course instructor. Field experience activity reports are to be scanned and sent or mailed to the course instructor for verification once hours are complete.

 The tables below indicate MAE courses that require Field Experiences and describe the nature of the Field Experiences to be completed and the number of hours to be completed. 

The following courses require Field Experiences, to be completed in public or private schools as part of the course requirements. Candidates are to be evaluated by the Cooperating Teacher for each set of Field Experiences required.

MAE/MAT Course

Required Field Experience:

Suggested Schools for MAT candidates*

Field Hours Required

5070 Advanced Studies in Classroom Management

Classroom Observations

Desired Student Teaching Placement School

10

5080 Diverse Populations in Teaching & Learning (See NOTE in the Introduction to Graduate Field Experiences)

Classroom observations & participation

Sam Houston Elementary

Prospect, Inc.

Lebanon High School

10

5180 Education: The Profession & the Professional

Interviews with classroom teachers or administrators

Byars Dowdy Elementary

Lebanon High School

(documentation of classroom diversity required.)

10

5250 Building Literacy for the K-12 Classroom (See NOTE in the Introduction to Graduate Field Experiences)

Observations & participation in reading classrooms

Southside K-8

Walter J Baird

(documentation of classroom diversity required.)

5

5200 Principles of Secondary Classroom Teaching

Classroom Teaching

Desired Student Teaching Placement School

15 weeks; minimum 1 hour per week

5221 Evaluation and Remediation of Reading Problems

Administering individual assessment to be incorporated into a Case Study

Southside K-8

Lebanon High School

5

5222 Methods of Classroom Teaching

Classroom observations and lesson presentations

Desired Student Teaching Placement School

10

5400 Advanced Assessment

Observation of testing situations in a school or classroom

Coles Ferry Elementary

Wilson Central High School

5

5016 Motor Learning and Development

Assessments and Testing

Any Lebanon Special School District Pre-K classroom

10

5012 Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment

Classroom observations and lesson presentations

Any Lebanon Special School District Pre-K classroom

10

5015 Support for Early childhood Learning

Classroom observations and lesson presentations

Any Lebanon Special School District Pre-K classroom

10

Professional Semester, Student Teaching (MAT 5286, 5287 Only)

Classroom teaching

Approved Student Teaching Placement

15 weeks

5285 Practicum in Education

Classroom observations and lesson presentations

School stated in letter of Intent to Hire

(Transitional License required)

 

*MAE candidates who are licensed teachers must complete field experiences in another classroom in the building or another school. Candidates who wish to complete field experiences in their own classrooms must contact the professor and have prior permission.
 
To see the evaluation form that will be completed On-line by cooperating teachers for Field Experiences, click here and look for the Field Experiences: Evaluation.
 

Introduction to the Professional Semester (aka: Student Teaching)

Student teaching requires that candidates work with a Cumberland University supervisor who can attend and evaluate lessons and work with the cooperating teachers. Student Teaching needs to be completed within 30-45 minutes of Lebanon, TN. Cumberland may be able to support student teachers in locations further away, but only on pre-approved case-by-case bases. Check with the program coordinator before starting the program to determine if your student teaching can be supported. Student teachers who can be supported outside of our typical areas will pay an additional fee.

The Professional Student Teaching semester has been designed to play an important integrating function in the Teacher Education Program at Cumberland University. It is through this culminating experience that our candidates apply University-developed theoretical concepts and lessons to practical classroom situations. This practical application must be carefully structured so that not only is there a gradual development of the skills involved in classroom teaching, but also a clear understanding is provided to students as to how theoretical concepts are being applied.

Candidates must be formally approved for student teaching by completing the Teacher Education Progression, Phase II interview and its requirements. For more information on the TEP II interview and other requirements for student teaching, click here. MAT candidates must pass the Praxis II Content Area Praxis exam within two semesters of enrollment to qualify for student teaching. For more information click here

Student teacher candidates are exposed to the full range of responsibility teachers manage, an experience that enables them to understand and consequently adapt successfully to the complex role of teaching.

The Professional Semester is the final phase of the Teacher Education (TEP) and field experience sequence. During this phase, pre-service teachers are prepared for their initial teaching license (in Tennessee) and the accompanying education procedures. Cooperating teachers accept an important mission in helping prepare qualified students for the teaching profession.

During the student teaching experience Cumberland University supervisors assist and evaluate student teacher candidates during their two placements. The purposes for which student teacher evaluation will be used are as follows:

  • Accountability: to assure effectiveness in the classroom and within the school.
  • Professional Growth: to provide a focus for professional growth in an area(s) which has the greatest capacity for facilitating improved student performance.
  • Cohesive School Structure: to increase and focus the dialog within schools on goal(s) of improved service to students.

Important Policies

Candidates should be aware of the following policies.


The Professional Semester is a full-time experience. Students may not take any other class except student teaching seminar during this period. It is the University’s position that students are not to hold another job during this period. It is state law that no other courses may be taken during the Professional Semester.

Students shall not be assigned to a school where they have been a student, where they have worked, or where family members attend or work.

Punctual, daily attendance is expected and essential. Cooperating teachers and University supervisors are to be notified immediately and personally of any unavoidable absences/tardiness. Documentation will be required for an absence of more than two days. Chronic absenteeism/tardiness will result in an extension of the student teaching schedule, withdrawal from the course, or failure of the course.

All student teachers will have two student teaching experiences during the Professional Semester:

  1. Elementary majors will be placed in two different grades – K-3 and 4-6;
  2. Secondary majors will be placed under the supervision of two different teachers – one in the middle grade and the other in a high school setting;
  3. Students preparing for a K-12 license will be placed in two different levels:  Music K-6 & 7-12 and P.E. K-4 & 5-12. These experiences may take place at one school or at multiple schools;
  4. Special education majors will have two placements: one in a general education classroom and the other in a special education setting. Grade level varies with interest of student and availability.

Student teachers should respect their assignments as they would a teaching contract, and are expected to conduct themselves in a highly professional manner.

Student teachers are to follow the school district calendar unless it imposes some unnecessary hardship. Any exceptions must be cleared with your University supervisor in advance.

Student teachers must not assume responsibilities for activities in or out of the classroom not specifically covered by laws of the state.

Student teachers will be present at all school-related functions in which their cooperating teachers are expected to attend, regardless of the time of day at which the functions occur. Examples of such are staff meetings, PTA meetings, and athletic events.

Student teachers may not serve as substitute teachers during the semester in which they are student teaching.

Seminars and Supervisors

Student Teachers will attend and participate in bi-weekly seminars and maintain a seminar document in LiveText.

Seminars will be held in classrooms on campus, or in a class or conference room at a local cooperating school. Students who are student teaching in classrooms remote from the Cumberland University campus may be able to join seminars through web-based conferencing software.

Student Teacher candidates will be supervised and assessed during the Professional Semester by Cumberland University faculty from four of our five Schools, and/or adjunct faculty specially hired by the School of Education who have multiple years of experience in classrooms and/or are highly qualified in specific, relevant content area knowledge and pedagogy. Most of the School of Education Faculty, including the Dean have shared in the supervision of our Student Teachers.

Cumberland University is proud of the level of commitment shared by the faculty of our School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business & Technology, and School of Music & the Arts who are involved as Secondary Supervisors in the assessment of Student Teacher candidates during the Professional Semester.