Field Experience Guidelines and Information


General Information about Field Experience


The Elementary and Secondary/Comprehensive Education programs at West Liberty University require four field experiences that teacher candidates complete in approved settings and in which they fulfill specific program goals. The Special Education and Early Education programs require additional experiences and hours in the field to ensure that candidates meet requirements for those programs.

Primary among the goals is to provide teacher education candidates with opportunities to work with students in Preschool through 12th grades in a variety of diverse settings. Equally important is the goal of providing the opportunity for teacher education candidates to apply what they have learned in their WLU classes in actual school settings under the guidance of experienced cooperating teachers. The WLU Teacher Education Program amounts to a partnership between WLU and the schools that collaborate by mentoring the WLU teacher education candidates during their field experiences and student teaching placements.

West Virginia State Policy 5100 Requires all Teacher Education Programs to document at least 125 clock hours of field placements for all teacher candidates prior to student teaching. At least 85 of those hours must in in the public schools.

 

Title of Field Course Field Experience Clock Hours
All Teacher Candidates
Field I* Participation with PK-12 students 15
Field II* Participation in diverse after-school programs 15
Practicum I Observations and Teaching in public schools 15
Elementary Teacher Candidates
Practicum II*** Completed with Methods and Materials Block
Teaching and Working in Public School classroom 80
**Teaching and Working in SPED classroom 15
Secondary and Comprehensive Candidates
Practicum III*** Completed with Methods and Materials Block
Teaching in public schools in area of certification 80
**Teaching and Working in SPED classroom 15

*Teacher candidates may petition for the replacement of field hours in Field I and Field II placements. Please see Appendix for the Field Placement Petition form.

**For those adding SPED additional certification only.

***Clock hours listed are minimum state policy requirements. Practicum II experience exceeds these hours and must be completed as outlined in the Practicum II syllabus.

Field Experience I: Education Based Community Service


  • 15 hours of education based community service spread over a minimum of three visits (at no more than three sites)
  • Site selected by the candidate
  • Can be completed at home, over breaks, or during the summer
  • Must be approved by the WLU Field Experience Coordination Team (Director of Teacher Education and Field Experience Coordinator)

Field Experience II: Community Based Educational Diversity Placement


  • 15 hours of community based educational diversity experience spread over a minimum of five visits (at no more than three sites)
  • Site is selected from a pre-approved list of qualifying organizations/programs
  • Work completed in community based educational diversity programs that occurred before admission to West Liberty University can be petitioned for use in meeting these requirements.

Please Note:

  • Field Experience I and II can be completed in any order, but must be successfully completed before placement in Practicum I.
  • If the site qualifies as a diversity placement, the same site can be used for Field I and Field II.
  • All placements must be approved in advance by the WLU Field Placement Coordination Team.

Practicum I: Partner School Placement


  • 15 hours spread over a minimum of six visits
  • Placements are acquired through the application process and are made by the Field Experience Coordinator
  • Must be successfully completed for admission to the Teacher Education Program

Practicum II: Clinical Field Experience


  • Must be completed during Methods and Materials Block as outlined in course syllabus
  • Placements are acquired through application process and are made by the Field Experience Coordinator
  • Must be successfully completed for admission to Professional Semester

Guidelines and Policies for All Field Experiences


  • Planning for Field Experiences: Teacher education candidates should work with their academic advisors to prepare an academic plan that provides for an even distribution of field experiences so that it will be possible to reserve enough time in the schedule to complete the field experiences. Since a minimum of half an hour is needed to travel from West Liberty to the school, the student will normally need an entire morning or afternoon each week to complete a field placement.
  • Transportation: Teacher education candidates are responsible for making arrangements for transportation to and from the schools for field placements. If transportation is not available, the candidate will be required to drop the field placement and take it again in a semester when transportation is not an issue. Within the Teacher Education Program, there is an expectation of transportation for completion of field experiences.
  • Background Check: An individual must have cleared a CasteBranch.com criminal record check within 12 months of the date of the application for admission. If the criminal record check discloses anything that could disqualify the applicant from West Virginia teaching certification, then that individual will be denied admission into the field experience placement.
    ** If criminal charges are pending against an individual which could disqualify that individual from West Virginia teaching certification, then West Liberty University reserves the right to delay or suspend that individual’s field experience placement until those charges are resolved. West Liberty University will not knowingly request a school placement for any individual who as been charged with criminal activity that could endanger the safety of the public school students.
  • Arrangement for Placements: The Teacher Education Program Field Experience Coordinator makes the placements for all field experiences. For all field experiences (Field I, Field II, Practicum I, and Practicum II) teacher education candidates are required to complete an application for field experience placement. Normally, the application is completed on-line. The Field Experience Coordinator will provide, by West Liberty email to each candidate, specific instructions regarding the procedure for applying for field experience placements and for receiving information about confirmed placements. Candidates are not to contact schools directly to arrange for placements.
  • Requests for Placements: Although the Field Experience Coordinator tries to accommodate requests for placement, there is no promise of placement in the schools that are requested. Factors such as but not limited to: availability of qualified teachers, diversity issues, and number of candidate requests for the school impact the final placement.
  • Teacher Education ID Card: Teacher education candidates need to visit the Card Center at the Service Center in the Student Union to obtain West Liberty University Teacher Education photo ID card which must be displayed at all times while in the school building while representing the West Liberty University Teacher Education Program.
  • Contacting the School and First Visit: After receiving a confirmed placement and first visit date from the Field Experience Coordinator (by West Liberty email), the teacher education candidate is expected to call the school to confirm the first visit date. The candidate must then attend on that confirmed date. If emergency necessitates canceling the initial visit or a subsequent visit to the school, the candidate must follow the Teacher Education Program Call-Off Policy outlined below. Please also follow the Call-Off Policy in the event of tardiness.
    1. Contact the school/site as early as possible and leave a message for the cooperating teacher/site administrator to notify him/her of the absence. Make sure to have the school/site phone number for immediate use.
    2. Email the Field Experience Coordinator ( [email protected]) and indicate the reason for the absence.
    3. Contact the Professional Education Secretary , Dawn Swiger, and indicate the reason for the absence at 304-336-8057. This should also be completed before the scheduled visit.
    Upon each visit to the school, the candidate must first report to the main office of the school to sign in for the visit. If verification of attendance is required, the main office log book will serve as the official record of attendance.
  • Attendance: Candidates are expected to contact the school where they have been placed immediately upon notification of placement. For each visit, the teacher candidate must arrive at least 10 minutes in advance of the agreed upon time for placement participation. Regardless of the school policy, WLU teacher education candidates are required to sign in at the office upon arrival at the school and to sign out when they are leaving the school. During the week of midterm, all candidates are required to demonstrate at least initial attendance at the assigned placement. Those who not met the requirement will have their placement canceled, and therefore, will need to repeat the field placement. When a candidate is not able to attend the field placement on a scheduled day, the candidate must contact the school by phone to alert the school and teacher of the inability to attend.
  • Professional Dress: All candidates must dress professionally; teacher education candidates must dress modestly and appropriately (professional apparel). Females should wear dresses, skirts, or slacks. Female students may not wear miniskirts or revealing blouses. Males should wear slacks, shirts, socks, and ties. Candidates are not permitted to wear jeans. Candidates should cover tattoos and remove inappropriate piercings. Flip flops, open toed, and backless shoes are not permitted. Teacher candidates in physical education will wear clothes appropriate to the instructional needs of the students.
  • Professional Interactions: All teacher candidates must display professionalism in all staff, teacher, and student interactions. The use of profane, derogatory, or sexually explicit language is prohibited. Teacher candidates may use a cell phone during non-teaching periods only. The use of cell phones and texting during class, or other school activities, is not permitted.
  • Participation in the Classroom Setting: Teacher candidates must not chew gum, eat or drink while participating in the classroom setting. No  communication by cell phone with others outside the classroom is permitted. Cell phones and all other electronic device not approved for use in advance of the lesson by the mentor teacher must be out of sight. If an electronic device is to be utilized during the participation, prior approval from the mentor teacher must be obtained such that the impression is not given that the teacher candidate is participating in social conversations during the visit. Teacher candidates are responsible for discussing the appropriate level of participation required for the experience and for each visit with the mentor teacher in advance of the visit each week. Placements should be participatory, not solely observational.
  • Schedule: The teacher candidate should set up a schedule with the cooperating teacher at the assigned school. The mentor teachers expect teacher candidates to be part of the instructional team during field-based experiences. Candidates need to arrive on time for each visit and stay for the full amount of time. If the candidate will miss a visit, he or she needs to notify the school AND the cooperating teacher immediately.
  • Involvement With P-12 Students: Teacher candidates are expected to maintain professional relationships with P-12 students. The Teacher Education Program at WLU prohibits out of school contact between teacher education candidates and P-12 students in schools where those teacher candidates are completing field based or clinical experiences. This includes on-line contact such as adding students as friends on social networking sites, text messaging, exchanging cell phone numbers, dating, etc.
  • Forgery: The consequences for such forgery will result in the termination of the field experience placement, non-acceptance of any hours completed at that placement,  a charge of academic dishonesty, and an automatic referral to the Teacher Education Unit Admission and Retention Committee to determine if the candidate will be permitted to continue as a teacher education candidate in the Teacher Education Program. Criminal charges may be filed if the teacher whose signature was forged chooses submit the case to law enforcement officials. The academic dishonesty charge could result in the expulsion of the teacher candidate from West Liberty University effectively ending the college career.
  • Thank You Notes: Remember that you are a guest of the school and of the cooperating teacher. Please take a few minutes to send a thank-you note to your cooperating teacher.

Field Placement Removal: Failure to attend field placements, failure to notify the schools or after-school centers of absences, dress code violations, a demonstration of unprofessionalism during field placements, and/or any violations of the field placement guidelines and policies is likely to result in the teacher candidate being removed from the field placement by the Director of Teacher Education.

When this is necessary, the Director of Teacher Education will gather all necessary paperwork and documentation from the school or center regarding the conduct of the teacher candidates. The Director of Teacher Education will meet with the teacher candidate regarding his/her conduct and resulting actions.

Removal from a field placement will result in the immediate termination of the field placement, a rating of Unacceptable for the field experience (Field I, Field II, Practicum I or Practicum II), a negative disposition assessment, a referral to the Teacher Education Unit Admission/Retention Committee for review of program continuation, and the need, if permitted to continue in the Teacher Education Program, to retake the entire field experience again to attempt to achieve successful completion of the placement.

The appeal process for removal from a field placement is the same as the appeal process for denial of program admission or program discontinuation.

Please Note:
For full Field Experience Manual, See Appendix D of the Candidate Policy Manual.