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 students 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 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
Field I Participation with PK-12 students 15
Field II Participation in diverse after-school programs 15
Practicum One Observations and Teaching in public schools 15
Elementary Teacher Candidates
Practicum Two 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 Two Completed with Methods and Materials Block  
  Teaching in public schools in area of certification 80
  *Teaching and Working in SPED classroom 15

*For those adding SPED additional certification only

Teacher candidates may petition for the replacement of field hours in Field I placement. Please click this link for the Field Placement Petition form.

Field Experience One: 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 Clinical Partnerships Coordinator)

Field Experience Two: Community Based Educational Diversity Placement

  • 15 hours of community based educational diversity experience spread over a minimum of give isits (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.

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

Field Experience Three: Professional Development 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 Placement Coordinator
  • Must be successfully completed for admission to the Teacher Education program

Field Experience Four: Clinical Field Experience

  • 80 hours spread in configuration given during Methods and Materials Block
  • Placements are acquired through application process and are made by the Field Experience Placement Coordinator
  • Must be successfully completed for admission to Clinical Student Teaching

Guidelines and Policies for All Field Placement Experiences

  • Planning for Field Experiences: Students 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: 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 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 completed a certifiedbackground.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 WLU Field Experience Coordinator makes the placements for all field experiences. For all field experiences (Field I, Field II, Practicum I, and Practicum II) students are required to complete an application for field experience placement. Normally, the application is completed on-line. The Field Placement Coordinator will provide, by West Liberty email to each student, 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.
  • Requests 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 but not limited to: 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 an 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 Placement Coordinator (by West Liberty email), the student is expected to call the school to confirm the first visit date. The student must then attend on that confirmed date. If emergency necessitates canceling the initial visit or a subsequent visit to the school, the student must call the school and leave a message for the teacher at the earliest possible time prior to the visit time that has been agreed upon with the mentor teacher. Upon each visit to the school, the student should 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: Students are expected to contact the school where they have been placed immediately upon notification of placement. For each visit, the teacher candidate should arrive at least 10 minutes in advance of the agreed upon time for placement participation. 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, will need to repeat the field placement. When a student is not able to attend the field placement on a scheduled day, the student must contact the school by phone to alert the school and teacher of the inability to attend.
  • Professional Dress: 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 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 should 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 interaction, not solely observation.
  • 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 when during field-based experiences. 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, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)), text messaging, exchanging cell phone numbers, dating, etc.
  • Forgery: The consequences for such forgery will the termination of the field experience placement, non-acceptance of any hours completed at that placemen,  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 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 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.