Field Experience Guidelines and Information

General Information about Field Experience
A number of the WLU courses in Education, Special Education, Early Education, and content require that students complete field experiences in approved settings. Although each course includes specific instructional goals for the field experience associated with that course, WLU has some overall goals for the field experience program. Primary among those 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 students during their field experiences and student teaching placements. West Virginia State Policy 5100 requires all Teacher Education Programs to document 125 clock hours of field placements for all teacher candidates prior to student teaching. At least 85 of those hours must in the public schools.

Education Courses Field Experience Clock Hours
All Teacher Candidates
EDUC 100 Observation in parochial schools 12
EDUC 207 Participation in diverse after-school programs 30
EDUC 301 Observations and Teaching in public schools 30
SPED 241 Day-long interaction in special education classroom 6
Elementary Teacher Candidates
READ 417 Methods and Materials Block
Teaching and Working in Public School classroom 60
Teaching and Working in Private School classroom on-site
Secondary and Comprehensive Candidates
EDUC 293 Teaching in public schools in area of certification 30
Method Courses Teaching in public schools in area of certification 30

Teacher candidates may petition for the replacement of field hours in specific courses. Please click this link for the Field Placement Petition form. Guidelines and Policies for All Field Placement Experiences

  • Students should work with their academic advisors to prepare an academic plan that provides for an even distribution of the courses that require 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 thirty-hour field placement.
  • Students are responsible for making arrangements for transportation to and from the schools for field placements. If transportation is not available, the student will be required to drop the course and take it again in a semester when transportation is not an issue.
  • Courses have field experience sections listed on the course schedule that must be taken concurrently.
  • All teacher candidates must complete an on-line background check prior to placement in a field experience. The background check remains on file for two consecutive semesters. After two consecutive semesters, the teacher candidate must complete another on-line background check.
  • The WLU Field Experience Coordinator makes the placements for all field experiences. Students are required to complete an application for field experience placement. Normally, the application is completed on-line. The course instructor will provide specific instructions regarding the procedure for applying for field experience placements and for receiving information about confirmed placements. Students are not to contact schools direct to arrange for placements.
  • Although the Field Experience Coordinator tries to accommodate student requests for placement, there is no promise of placement in the schools that are requested. Factors such as: availability of qualified teachers, diversity issues, and number of student requests for the school impact the final placement.
  • Field Experience ID Card: Students need to visit the Card Center at the Service Center in the Student Union to obtain a photo ID card which must be displayed at all times while in the school building.
  • First Visit: The student is expect to visit the school on the first scheduled visit day after receiving a confirmed placement. The student should report to the school office and sign in during each visit. School personnel will provide instructions for locating the class, signing into the building, etc.
  • Attendance: Students are expected to contact the school where they have been placed immediately upon notification of placement. During the week of midterm, all students 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, be forced to drop the class.
  • Professionalism: All candidates should dress professionally; students should 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. Students are not permitted to wear jeans. Students should cover tattoos and remove inappropriate piercings. Flip flops 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 professional 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.
  • Schedule: The teacher candidate should set up a schedule with the cooperating teacher at the assigned school. Your mentor teachers begin to count on you and consider you part of the instructional team when you report weekly. Students need to arrive on time for each visit and stay for the full amount of time. If the student 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 a professional relationship 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 (Myspace or Facebook), text messaging, exchanging cell phone numbers, dating, etc.
  • Forgery: The consequences for such forgery will include a failing grade for the course for which the field experience was required, a charge of academic dishonesty, and an automatic referral to the Teacher Education Unit Admission and Retention Committee to determine if the student will be permitted to continue as a teacher education candidate. 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 student 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 a failure of the course associated with the field experience. The appeal process for removal from a field placement is the same as the appeal process for denial of program admission or program discontinuation.