The Professional Semester is the capstone experience where students have the opportunity to apply, adapt, and incorporate all that they have learned about teaching and learning while working within the context of a public school setting. Student Teaching is the core component of the professional semester. This semester consists of two fulltime teaching experiences in grade levels appropriate to the area of certification (PreK – 4, Grades 4 – 8, or Grades 7 – 12). As interns in the public schools, students have the opportunity to utilize the content knowledge and pedagogical skills gained in their academic preparation in actual classroom situations.
Lesson and unit planning as well as assessment and classroom management skills are honed with the support of mentor teachers and college supervisors. Daily seminars prior to student teaching and between placements focus on differentiated instruction, questioning strategies, lesson planning, meeting the needs of a diverse public school population, and strategies to enhance student motivation. Weekly seminar sessions during the semester provide the student teachers with a forum to reflect analytically on their classroom experiences as they develop their professional skills and voice.