About Student Teaching

Student teaching for elementary certification is a fall school-semester apprenticeship (18 weeks) that includes practice teaching in an Appleton elementary school, methods instruction provided by master teachers, and a weekly student teaching seminar led by a Lawrence faculty member.  Student teaching for secondary or all-levels (K-12) certification is a school-semester internship (18 weeks) that includes practice teaching at levels appropriate to the certification area and a weekly student teaching seminar. 

Lawrence student teachers are expected to be in school for the full school day and to fulfill the duties of a regular classroom teacher.  A student teacher co-teaches with the cooperating teacher and should have sole responsibility for no more than half of the teaching on any school day. The student teacher also completes other school duties, attends meetings, communicates with parents, and may contribute to extracurricular activities. Through a mixture of modeling and practice, student teachers learn how to be public school teachers, developing the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen profession.

Every student teacher is supervised by an education or music education faculty member. This university supervisor observes the student teacher four times and meets with the student after each observation to discuss the lesson, to offer advice, and to answer questions. At the midpoint and end of student teaching, the university supervisor and the cooperating teacher each fill out a student teaching evaluation, which they discuss with the student teacher (a sample form can be found under Forms on this website).

During student teaching, each student prepares a teacher performance assessment (edTPA) and submits it for professional scoring. Every student teacher also writes a reflective essay that is due at the end of student teaching; requirements are provided in the student teaching syllabus. These become part of the final teaching portfolio that demonstrates mastery of Lawrence's teacher education program standards.

Student teaching is graded satisfactory or unsatisfactory (S/U). Note that a satisfactory (S) grade in student teaching does not guarantee that a student will be certified for licensure. The student must submit an acceptable portfolio, pass the edTPA, finish any remaining coursework, and satisfy all requirements for licensure.

Student Teaching Options


Student teaching may be done during the senior year or 13th term after graduation. Most candidates student teach in the fall semester (late August to mid-January), which overlaps with Lawrence's fall term and the first two weeks of winter term; seniors adjust their teaching schedule to accommodate the start of winter-term classes. It's also possible to student teach in the spring semester (mid-January to early June), which overlaps with Lawrence's winter and spring terms. While student teaching, no other courses are permitted.


Elementary candidates are placed in an Appleton school, as the elementary certification program is run in partnership with the Appleton Area School District.  Secondary and all-levels (K-12) candidates have three options for placement:

(1) In Appleton or a nearby Wisconsin school district: Most students complete their student teaching within easy driving distance of Lawrence. This facilitates the university supervisor's visits to observe the student and the student's participation in the weekly seminar on campus. Students who are student teaching in the local area may live in campus housing (if they have not yet graduated), in a university-owned apartment (if available), or in their own private apartment, often shared with another student teacher. Students who have already graduated normally qualify for a 13th-term tuition waiver for student teaching and pay a reduced fee.

(2) Urban student teaching in Chicago: Students who want to student teach in an urban setting can do so through Lawrence’s affiliation with the Chicago Center. The Chicago Center Urban Student Teaching Program provides school placements, supervision, and a weekly seminar. They also provide housing with other student teachers in apartments in Chicago. Students who do their student teaching in Chicago must, like all student teachers, prepare a final teaching portfolio (including the edTPA) and submit it to the department for approval.

The Chicago Center Urban Student Teaching Program is an off-campus program with its own tuition and fees, so there is no 13th-term discount. Seniors find the cost similar to a term at Lawrence, and graduates report that the program is worth the cost because of the unique experience it provides. See this news video to hear from recent participants.

Interested students should consult with the education department chair. Applications are due by January 31 to student teach in Chicago the following academic year.

(3) International student teaching: Students who want to gain experience in another country have an opportunity to do so through Lawrence's partnership with a program for international education. Students may apply to do nine weeks of student teaching in the Appleton area followed by nine weeks in another English-speaking country (in North America, Europe, Asia, or Australia/New Zealand) or in a non-English-speaking country for certification in teaching ESL. Students who participate in this program must, like all student teachers, prepare a final teaching portfolio (including the edTPA) and submit it to the department for approval.

To apply for international student teaching, a student must submit the registration form for overseas practice teaching, a letter from the student's major advisor(s) or studio teacher(s) attesting to mastery of subject matter and suitability for overseas student teaching, and a current transcript. Applicants must have at least a 3.25 GPA. Applicants should also plan to take the Praxis II test (if needed) in November. Although students will be asked to specify desired countries for placement, the program cannot guarantee placement in a specific country. If no suitable placement can be found, the student will need to student teach in the Fox Cities or Chicago. Students participating in this program do qualify for a 13th-term tuition waiver, leaving them responsible for program and registration fees (under $2,000), room and board, and transportation costs, including any cancellation or change fees.

Any student accepted for international student teaching must demonstrate satisfactory progress in the first nine weeks of student teaching in the Fox Cities in order to be permitted to go abroad for the second nine weeks. Students who make less than satisfactory progress will need to stay in the Fox Cities for the remainder of their student teaching and will be responsible for their own expenses related to canceling or changing airline reservations.

Interested students should consult with the department chair for more information. Applications are due by January 31 for international student teaching during the subsequent academic year.

Key Deadlines:

No later than fall term of the year before student teaching:

  • Apply for admission to the teacher education program. You can apply as early as the sophomore year, once you have completed an education course with practicum. Pick up the application form and Teacher Certification Handbook from the education office (Briggs 117).

No later than winter term of the year before student teaching:

  • If your major GPA is less than 3.00, take the subject area test (Praxis II or ACTFL) for your certification area. You may not begin student teaching until passing scores have been received by the education department directly from ETS or ACTFL.
  • Discuss student teaching placement preferences with the department chair. You can suggest specific teachers you have observed and/or request a particular school, though we cannot guarantee that placement will be available.
  • Submit an application to student teach in Chicago or internationally by January 31.

No later than spring term of the year before student teaching:

  • Take the appropriate methods course(s): elementary, secondary, art, world language, ESL, or music (instrumental or choral). You must receive at least a B- in methods to continue into student teaching.
  • Make sure you have completed enough practicum hours. You must complete at least 100 hours before you may begin student teaching.
  • Submit a pre-student teaching portfolio by the end of spring term. You may not begin student teaching until your pre-student teaching portfolio is accepted by a member of the education faculty.

Prior to the start of student teaching:

  • Complete all courses in the teacher certification sequence.  (Any remaining subject area or degree requirements can be completed after student teaching.)
  • Go to a clinic for a TB test and give the test report to the education department. You may not begin student teaching until you have a current TB test report on file in the education department.

Advanced Methods in Teaching (weekly seminar)

Candidates are expected to take Advanced Methods in Teaching (EDUC 660 or 665 or MUEP 660) during the student teaching semester so they can connect theory with practice and engage in discussions and activities with other students who are actively teaching. This weekly seminar explores a variety of topics related to the profession and practice of teaching, the relation of schools to society, and preparation for a job search. Grading is S/U. (Those who student teach in Chicago will have an equivalent weekly seminar as part of their Chicago placement.)

Student Teacher Retreat at Björklunden

Each fall the teacher education program arranges a mid-semester weekend retreat for student teachers at Björklunden, Lawrence’s northern campus in Door County. In addition to discussing progress in their teaching, student teachers bring drafts of their edTPAs for peer review prior to submission for official scoring.

Student Teaching FAQ

Do I have to find my own student teaching placement?

No, we will find a place for you to student teach. However, students are urged to give us names of teachers with whom they would like to be placed. All placements are handled by the Education Department in collaboration with the school district. For a variety of reasons, the teacher(s) you ask for may not be available when you plan to do your student teaching.

If you do know of a teacher with whom you would like to student teach, please give her or his name to the department chair. You may talk informally with the teacher about the possibility of student teaching with her/him but all requests must be made by Lawrence’s Education Department to the appropriate district office. Please do not try to arrange a student teaching placement directly with any teacher. Please be sure the teacher understands that we will contact the district office (or building administrator as appropriate) to make a formal request and that she or he should not do so in advance of our official contact.

Can I choose the school level (e.g., middle or high school) in which I student teach?

Yes. While we cannot absolutely guarantee you will be placed in the grade level you request, we make every effort to do so and almost always are able to accommodate you. (Please note that studio art and world language candidates are placed in an elementary school for nine weeks and a secondary school for nine weeks.)

Can I choose the town in which I student teach?

Yes, within limits. We will try to place you in the town you have requested. If that is not possible, we will try to place you in a similar type of community or school. Generally speaking, all placements must be within a 20-25 mile radius of Lawrence (unless you are student teaching in Chicago or completing the second half of your student teaching overseas).

Can I student teach in a school I attended?

Yes, but you should talk with the department chair about this well in advance of when you plan to student teach as there are pros and cons to doing so.

Can I take courses while student teaching?

No. Because student teaching is a full-time internship and students are expected to be at school throughout the school day, you may not take any other courses while student teaching other than the 3-unit Advanced Methods in Teaching course, which is a weekly evening seminar, and, for elementary, the methods courses taught by master teachers.

During the student teaching semester (fall or spring), you should register for two courses: Student Teaching (18 units) and Advanced Methods in Teaching (3 units). If you student teach in the fall, you may not register for any fall-term courses. If you student teach in the spring, you may not register for any winter- or spring-term courses. For this reason most students choose to do their student teaching in the fall.

What if I am certifying in more than one subject?

If you are certifying in more than one subject area, you must do a full semester of student teaching in each area. Nevertheless, it may be possible for you to student teach in two subjects in the same semester (e.g., Spanish and English as a Second Language). Ask the department chair about the requirements for your particular situation. Students who plan to student teach for two semesters sometimes choose to do one semester near Lawrence and one in Chicago to gain a broader range of experience.

What if I am certifying K-12 (in art, music, theater, a world language, or ESL)?

Students who are certifying K-12 typically do a split placement with nine weeks at the elementary level and nine weeks at the secondary level.

If I student teach in a 13th term, do I have to pay tuition?

If you student teach at Lawrence or internationally within a year after graduation (13th term), you do not have to pay tuition for the additional term, but you will have to pay a program fee of up to $2,000. If you student teach in Chicago, you must pay the program's tuition, which may differ from regular Lawrence tuition. Ask the department chair for more information.

If I am a graduate of Lawrence or another university and then decide to seek teacher certification, must I pay full tuition?

Lawrence graduates may pursue teacher certification through Lawrence at 50% of the current tuition rate. For graduates of other institutions, the tuition rate is 75%. A separate reduced fee is charged for the student teaching portion of the program. Contact the department chair for details.

When I finish student teaching, am I ready to be certified?

Not quite. There are still some additional requirements for licensure (criminal background check and fingerprinting, formal application, etc.). Look under Licensure Q&A on this website and check with the department chair for details.