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How To Prepare for Student Teaching - Frequently Asked Questions

Drexel University School of Education

As with any skill, teaching takes practice. A practicing student teacher is allowed to get hands-on experience teaching. But since student teaching is also a fairly rigorous process, it helps if you know how to prepare for it.

Are you interested in learning more about Drexel’s School of Education and student teaching opportunities? Take a moment to request more information.

What is Student Teaching?

Student teaching or field experience is a critical component of a student’s journey towards becoming an educator. In a student teaching experience, a student applies the knowledge and skills gained through their coursework in a real-world setting. Student teachers at Drexel work with the Field Placement Office to obtain a student teaching experience close to their home or at a school that is most convenient for them. Student teaching is often completed towards the end of a student’s degree or certification program. State departments of education require a certain number of hours of student teaching as part of teacher licensure requirements.

Why Is Student Teaching Important?

Student teaching provides future educators with the pedagogical tools and experience necessary to connect practice and theory. While working closely alongside their teacher mentor, student teachers receive ongoing feedback about their performance.

This allows student teachers to become more proficient at instructing students, implementing adaptable curriculum, and performing accurate student assessments. Student teaching also provides numerous chances for self-reflection and personal growth. While learning to become a skilled educator can take years of practice, student teaching is necessary and helpful to gain the skills and experience required to be a teacher.

What Is the Student Teaching Experience Like?

Student teaching involves full-time placement in a teaching position, spanning at least 13 weeks. During this time, student teachers will gradually assume all of the responsibilities of teaching a classroom. Because student teaching is a full-time commitment, teachers need to be careful about managing their responsibilities during this time. Along with feedback and assistance from a teacher mentor, this can make the student teaching experience equal parts rigorous and rewarding.

Additionally, student teachers attend a weekly professional seminar, where guided discussions allow them to reflect on classroom experiences and set goals for improvement. This also gives student teachers the chance to collaborate with other teacher candidates, and to share advice or strategies. Student teaching seminar assignments may include journaling, reflective papers, creating rubrics, building lesson plans, and so forth.

What Is the Role of a Student Teacher?

A student teacher will learn to manage a classroom along with daily procedures, lesson plans, and student behavior. The first week of being a student teacher involves interactive observations. That may include working with individual students, or even assisting the teacher with lessons. In the following weeks, student teachers gradually assume all of the responsibilities of running a classroom. This includes creating a formal lesson plan, practicing instruction with students, and the responsibility of maintaining an organized, safe classroom environment.

How Involved will I be in the Classroom?

Student teaching experiences vary depending on the student. Undergraduate education majors at Drexel complete a 4-stage student teaching model. At the first two stages, students observe a classroom to see how an experienced teacher leads lessons. The student may also work individually or with small groups of students. At stage III, the student will complete a minimum of 30 hours of teaching by leading lessons with the whole class. At stage IV, undergraduate students spend up to 30 weeks teaching in a school. At this advanced stage, a student applies all their skills in lesson planning and classroom management by leading a class on their own under the observation of an experienced teacher. Part-time graduate students complete 13 weeks of student teaching to meet the requirements set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


Student teachers draft lesson plans under the supervision of their assigned teacher and deliver the lessons to the class. When developing their plans, student teachers take into the account the special needs of their students to ensure that they will grasp the concepts and learning activities. Drexel undergraduate students gain a good understanding of what student teaching is like through their previous experience in stages 1-3.

What Is the Student Teaching Dress Code?

Student teaching dress codes will vary slightly from school to school. However, teacher candidates are not only representing themselves, but their entire institution. Consequently, candidates are urged to dress professionally and conservatively. Student teachers should dress in a way to appear highly mature and professional.

Questions about student teaching? Request more information and get started with a degree or certificate from Drexel School of Education.


As a student teacher, you’ll be teaching five days per week for the entire school day. The number of hours of student teaching required for licensure vary from state to state. At Drexel, part-time graduate students pursuing a teaching license complete 13-weeks of student teaching, while undergraduate students complete a 30-week teacher residency at a K-12 school.

How to put Student Teaching on a Resume?

You can add student teaching on in the “relevant experience” section on your resume, as opposed to the section about your educational background. Like any job or internship, include the name of the institution where you worked, and the dates you worked there. To make yourself stand out from other student teachers, you should include specific examples of your accomplishments in the classroom, i.e. a unique unit plan. You could also include information about the age of the students, or about the subjects that you taught.

Do Student Teachers get Paid?

Student teaching is unpaid because the experience is a large part of your education. Additionally, it’s inadvisable to pursue full-time employment while working as a student teacher. However, student teachers are often able to find part-time work as tutors, or in after-school programs.

There is one exception to this rule. Sometimes a shorthanded school will hire a student teacher with a temporary or emergency teaching license. These exceptions are sometimes available to people who expect to receive their teaching license within a year.

How do I apply for Student Teaching?

Drexel University School of Education’s Field Placement Office manages all student teaching experiences for students. Students should contact the Field Placement Office to apply for student teaching and to get more information about clearances and other forms that are required to be completed prior to beginning student teaching.

How Do I Prepare for Student Teaching?

Aspiring student teachers can prepare by obtaining the background clearances relevant to their state, and then providing copies to the field placement office. It may be necessary to get a tuberculin test, however, this varies by district. Additionally, student teachers will need to need to complete the pre-service academic assessment (PAPA) exams to receive placement.

Student teachers need to manage their other responsibilities and time commitments in a way that never interferes with attendance; teachers must not be absent or late to assigned classrooms. In the event of an emergency, student teachers must notify the placement office and their mentor teacher as soon as possible.

How Do I Get Student Teaching Experience?

Once all requirements for placement have been met, the placement office will find a student teaching opportunity near you. Teacher candidates can then reach out to their mentor teacher to become acquainted. As a student teacher, you’ll be teaching five days per week for the entire school day. By the end of your education, you’ll have at least 13 weeks of experience.

Though student teachers work closely with their teacher mentors, teacher candidates quickly take over the full responsibilities of running a classroom. In addition to teaching experience, teacher candidates also attend weekly seminar related to their field.


Questions about student teaching? Request more information and get started with a degree or certificate from Drexel School of Education.