How do I get to work with a Teacher Candidate from Niagara University?

School boards and districts have different protocols when it comes to Teacher Candidate assignments. Check with your school principal to find out how this is done at your particular school board or district. For more information, call Mrs. McKissic in the Office of Teacher Education Field Experience at 716.286.8739.

How much should Teacher Candidates teach and when?

Every Teacher Candidate and classroom teacher is different, and each has individual needs. Thus, the transition from student to teacher is an individual process arrived at through collaboration between the Teacher Candidate, the Cooperating/Associate Teacher and, when necessary, the Field Supervisor. 

All parties should agree that the transition suggested will create the best possible learning situation for the Teacher Candidate. The pace at which the Teacher Candidate is expected to assume a “full teaching schedule” depends on the capabilities and needs of the Teacher Candidate, as well as the best judgment of the classroom teacher. If the Teacher Candidate becomes overwhelmed, or under-challenged, the transition is most likely inappropriate. 

A short answer to this question is that student teacher should do as much as possible as soon as possible.

What is the role of the Field Supervisor?

The Field Supervisor, partnered with the Cooperating/Associate Teacher and the host school, provides formative supervision of Teacher Candidate during their field placements. The Field Supervisor is required to observe each Teacher Candidate teach a lesson a minimum of two times in each placement. During these visits, the Field Supervisor conducts formative assessments of the Teacher Candidate’s ability to address CCLS NYS Standards/Ontario Curriculum Expectations. The Field Supervisor mentors and supports Teacher Candidate to improve teaching and learning.

When does the Teacher Candidate start his/her program?

For undergraduate students, it’s a four year program. Teacher Candidates do their student teaching during the fall or spring semester of their senior year. For graduate students, it’s a four semester program. Teacher Candidates do their student teaching during the fourth semester.

How are Teacher Candidates evaluated?

The Field Supervisor will complete an observation form during each of the four visits (two visits in each placement). However, the evaluation forms that the Cooperating/Associate Teacher completes will for the most part determine the grade that the student teacher receives. The Preliminary Report and the Midway Report allow for intervention if things aren’t going as well as hoped for. The Final Report is the most important one of the three as it is based on the full seven weeks of the placement. The Director of Teacher Education Field Experience (Mrs. McKissic) will assign the final grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory based on all of the information at her disposal.

What are the expectations for the Teacher Candidate when there is a PD day or an alternate activity scheduled at my school?

The expectation is for Teacher Candidates to follow the calendar of the school system to which they are assigned, except when they are required to attend professional seminars on campus. Professional activity days and other alternative activities that are scheduled during the Teacher Candidate’s placement are opportunities that student teachers should be able to experience.

Should Teacher Candidates be involved in extracurricular activities and/or the school community?

We encourage Teacher Candidates to become involved in the school community. Opportunities to take an active role in extracurricular activities are something we support and encourage.

Should Teacher Candidates be observed by the principal?

It would be wonderful if the principal had the time to observe the Teacher Candidate. However, we appreciate how busy principals are. Accordingly, we do not expect principals to observe Teacher Candidates. We encourage Teacher Candidates, at the very least, to introduce themselves to the principal as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

What are the expectations with respect to Teacher Candidate absences?

If a Teacher Candidate is absent during any part of their placement, it is very important that they notify the Cooperating/Associate Teacher as soon as possible. If the Teacher Candidate has started teaching, the expectation is that the Teacher Candidate will provide lesson plans to the Cooperating/Associate Teacher for the lessons that the Teacher Candidate will be unable to teach. We want the Teacher Candidate to handle this situation in the same way that any teacher would. 

It is also important that the Teacher Candidate notify his/her Field Supervisor. If the absence is more than a day or two, the Teacher Candidate may have to provide a medical certificate and make up the time that is missed. This decision is made by the Director of Teacher Education Field Experience (Mrs. McKissic) on a case by case basis.

Is it okay for Teacher Candidates to observe other teachers at my school?

We encourage Teacher Candidates to observe other teachers if time permits. Being able to observe other teachers will enhance the experience of the Teacher Candidate.

What are the expectations with respect to professional dress and professional conduct?

The expectation is for Teacher Candidates to wear neat, tailored clothing in accordance with standards set for teachers. Teacher Candidates are about to enter a very noble profession, one that involves the responsibility of guiding young lives to their optimum.

It’s important to look the part of a professional. Teacher Candidates are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. They need to extend basic courtesy and respect toward school administrators, teachers, staff, students and the school community. 

Teacher Candidates must refrain from making unfavorable remarks about the host school, the university program, and/or the community.

What are the expectations with respect to lesson plans and when should Teacher Candidates show me their lesson plans?

Teacher Candidates are expected to write detailed lesson plans for each lesson that they teach. Lesson plans should be submitted to the Cooperating/Associate Teacher in time for feedback and approval. The exact amount of time needed for feedback and approval is something that the Teacher Candidate and the Cooperating/Associate must discuss and agree upon at the beginning of the placement.

The suggested format can be found in the Student Teaching Handbook. However, the Teacher Candidate can use another format, if mutually agreed upon in consultation with the Cooperating/Associate Teacher and the Field Supervisor.

Should I always be in the room when my Teacher Candidate is teaching?

The expectation is that Cooperating/Associate Teachers be in the room while the Teacher Candidate is teaching the class. To provide feedback to the Teacher Candidate, it is necessary that the Cooperating/Associate Teacher observe the Teacher Candidate.

Also, it is important to remember that the Cooperating/Associate Teacher is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the classroom. If there was an incident while the Teacher Candidate was alone in the classroom, it would be the responsibility of the Cooperating/Associate Teacher to deal with the consequences of the incident.

What role should I play with respect to inappropriate behavior and discipline when my Teacher Candidate is teaching?

Classroom management is an important skill for Teacher Candidates to develop. The best way to learn is by doing.  So, it would be most effective to allow Teacher Candidates to handle inappropriate behavior themselves and then to discuss the situation with the Teacher Candidate afterwards. However, if the safety of the students is compromised by something that occurs in the classroom and the Teacher Candidateis not sure what to do, then, by all means intervene. This should be a very rare occurrence.

What are the expectations with respect to giving feedback to my Teacher Candidate?

Regular feedback is an essential component of the student teaching experience. While observing the lesson, make notes. Record strengths and weaknesses and appropriate solutions to situations that arise. Provide the Teacher Candidate with written feedback regularly. If it isn’t possible to meet after the class, then schedule a conference at the end of the day or at a prep time. We encourage Cooperating/Associate Teachers to use the de-briefing template in the Student Teaching Handbook 2-3 times a week.

What are the expectations with respect to my Teacher Candidate when I am absent?

If the Cooperating/Associate Teacher is absent, the Teacher Candidate can teach the lesson, as long as they have been in the placement long enough to be comfortable doing so. However, there should be another teacher in the room (a supply teacher or a substitute teacher) who would assume the responsibility of the Cooperating/Associate Teacher.

Who do I contact with respect to my remuneration?

Please contact Shannon Stott at 716.286.8738 or sstott@niagara.edu.

When are the Preliminary Report, Mid-Way Report, and Final Report due?

All evaluation reports will be submitted to the Office of Teacher Education Field Experience electronically.


Preliminary Report

The Preliminary Report is completed after the first 5 days of the Teacher Candidate’s placement in a classroom by the Cooperating/Associate Teacher. It is an early assessment of the Teacher Candidate’s observable dispositions toward teaching, specifically in the areas of Professional Commitment/Responsibility, Professional Relationships/Fairness, and Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice. The Preliminary Report provides an opportunity for the candidate to focus on his/her dispositional professional growth as a teacher. In a working definition, dispositions are described as tendencies for individuals to act in a particular manner under particular circumstances. A tendency implies a pattern of behavior that is predictive of future actions. This predictive feature gives some assurance that, once Teacher Candidates assume the formal role of teachers, their practices will be in keeping with those dispositions (Villegas, 2007). In the Preliminary Report, it is recognized that the Cooperating/Associate Teacher is viewing a beginner and has had limited time to become fully acquainted with the Teacher Candidate. Niagara University is interested in the Teacher’s first impressions, within the first 5 days of the Teacher Candidate’s placement.  


Mid-Way Progress Report

Both Cooperating/Associate Teacher and Teacher Candidate complete a Mid-Way Progress Report independently after 3-4 weeks of the placement.  They then meet to discuss their individual perceptions of the Candidate’s progress up to this mid-point of Student Teaching. The Mid-Way Progress Report provides a timely opportunity for both the C/A Teacher and Candidate to specifically identify areas of strength and areas where improvement is required in the Candidate’s performance, and for the Candidate to determine a focused growth plan for the latter weeks of the placement during which time expectations and demands will rise substantially as the Candidate moves  toward the end of the placement. The Mid-Way Progress Report is focused on the Candidate’s understanding and mastery of the required standards.


Final Student Teaching Report

The Final Student Teaching Report is completed by the Cooperating/Associate Teacher during the last week of the Candidate’s placement.  The Final evaluation is a compilation and summary of the Candidate’s demonstrated degree of competency in the knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with the professional standards, and an overall assessment of the Candidate’s readiness as a beginning classroom teacher. The Candidate receives a recommendation of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory on the Final Report. There is a place on the Final Report for relevant comments from the Cooperating/Associate Teacher that support the professional recommendation. Comments are helpful in the final overall grading that the Candidate receives from the Director of Teacher Education Field Experience.

Is it okay to have more than one Cooperating/Associate Teacher work with one Teacher Candidate?

It is okay to have more than one Cooperating/Associate Teacher work with an individual Teacher Candidate. In most cases when this occurs, the experience of the Teacher Candidate is enhanced by the opportunity to work with more than one Cooperating/Associate Teacher.

Who is responsible for the evaluation reports when there is more than one Cooperating/Associate Teacher?

The evaluation reports can be completed by the original Cooperating/Associate Teacher, with input from the other Cooperating/Associate Teacher(s).

Another approach would be for each Cooperating/Associate Teacher to complete their own evaluation report. 

Extra copies of the three evaluation reports can be downloaded from the myNU website. Or, the Field Supervisor can provide extra copies.

Who do I contact if the placement is not going well?

If the placement is not going as well as hoped for, contact the Field Supervisor and/or Mrs. McKissic (the Director of Teacher Education Field Experience) at 716.286.8739. It is important to do this as soon as possible, so that something can be done to make the placement a more positive experience for the Teacher Candidate.