All CT educator preparation programs require clinical field experience. Everyone seems to agree: The more hands-on, pre-service experience in the classroom—where you observe and practice with an effective teacher who gives you helpful feedback—the better.
What can this look like?
Pre-service, hands-on field experience can come in a variety of forms, from one or two semesters of working full-time in an experienced teacher’s classroom (this is typically called student teaching) to working in a classroom full-time for one or more school years while enrolled in a program.
As a general rule of thumb, more pre-service experience is better, but quality definitely matters. Make sure to ask any programs you’re considering about what the pre-service experience includes, how they select cooperating teachers and how you will receive feedback on your practice.
Why is this important?
Practice makes perfect. In fact, teachers with more pre-service (or classroom) experience as a part of their preparation program are more likely to feel prepared for their first year in the classroom. Multiple opportunities to observe other teachers and practice teaching is important for success as a first-year teacher.