Office of Educator Certification

Student Teaching FAQs

When do I apply for student teaching?

If you plan to student teach in the fall semester, you will apply for student teaching by the first Tuesday in February. If you plan  to student teach in the spring semester, you will apply by the first Tuesday in September. The first step, participation in a Pre-Student Teaching Workshop, is mandatory. You should plan on attending a Pre-Student Teaching Workshop one year before you plan to student teach. 

EXAMPLE FOR A STUDENT WHO WANTS TO STUDENT TEACH IN THE FALL OF 2015:
Fall 2014               Attend Pre-Student Teaching Workshop in November

Spring 2015       Apply for student teaching by the first Tuesday in February 

Fall 2015            Student teach 

What are the Pre-Student Teaching Workshops I have to attend? When are they?

The workshops are held 4-5 times every semester. These meetings explain the placement procedure and outline the process of application. Attending one of these meetings is required. The dates of these meetings will be posted around campus and given to your advisor. They are approximately 1 hour in length. You can also stop by the Educator Certification Office to find out the dates of the workshops.

What if I miss the Pre-Student Teaching Workshops?

If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled meetings, you must set up an appointment with the Director of Field Experiences. Those doing so after the deadline for application are not guaranteed placement.

How long is student teaching?

Most student teachers will student teach the entire semester, 16 weeks. Some students may have a 20-week placement depending on their endorsements. Check with your advisor or ask in the Educator Certification Office if you aren't sure.

What if I have two endorsements?

You will student teach half of the time in one endorsed area and half of the time in the other area. This may be two 8-week assignments, or run concurrently (mornings in English, afternoons in History).

How many copies of my application do I need to turn in?

We only need one copy of the application. Be sure to keep a copy for your files.

How many copies of my personal data sheet do I need to turn in?

We need 4 copies of your personal data sheet for each endorsement (do not count minors or supplemental endorsements). We send one copy to the administrator when we request placement, give one copy to your cooperating teacher, and provide another copy to the University supervisor. The final copy is for your teacher education file in the Educator Certification Office. Be sure to keep a copy for your files.

How many copies of my transcripts do I need when applying for student teaching? How do I obtain a copy of my transcripts?

We need 4 copies of your transcripts for each endorsement. We ask that you only request ONE copy from the Registrar's Office, and then make copies.  We do NOT need an original. Remove your Social Security number from the copies.  You can request transcripts from the Registrar's Office in Founders Hall free of charge or on MyBlue.

Where should I student teach?

The College of Education has "Partner Schools" that work collaboratively with us in creating high-quality field experiences. Many of their teachers have extensive experience in working with teacher candidates and are familiar with our program and expectations. We strongly encourage student teachers to choose one of the following schools for their student teaching assignment: 

Amherst Public Schools
Axtell Public Schools
Elm Creek Public Schools
Faith Christian (K-8) – Kearney
Gibbon Public Schools
Grand Island Public Schools (Early Childhood Center, Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Barr Middle School, Walnut Middle School, Grand Island Senior High)
Holdrege Public Schools
Kearney Public Schools
Kearney Catholic Junior-Senior High School
Lexington Public Schools
Minden Public Schools
Overton Public Schools
Pleasanton Public School
Ravenna Public Schools
Shelton Public Schools
Wilcox-Hildreth Public Schools
Wood River Rural Schools
Zion Lutheran (K-5) - Kearney

When will I know where I will be student teaching?

Some schools respond quickly with placements; others are quite slow.  The Educator Certification Office always tries to have placements ready by Thanksgiving for the spring semester or the end of April for the fall semester.  You will receive an email on your UNK email account which will direct you to come to the Educator Certification Office to pick up your information and packet(s) for your cooperating teacher(s).  At this time, you will be told which section of student teaching to register for.

Why didn't I get my first placement choice?

There are a variety of reasons. The school may not have an eligible teacher (an eligible teacher is one who has three years’ experience in that school.) It may be that the principal and staff have decided to take a break from student teachers to work on curriculum issues. Or perhaps the assignment was given to another student from another college.

When will I know who my supervisor is?

Most student teachers will not know who their supervisor is until the first two weeks of student teaching. A few supervisors are faculty at UNK, but most are retired administrators who supervise UNK student teachers.

What if I can't get along with my cooperating teacher?

You need to get in touch with your university supervisor and discuss ways to approach this. Many times it's simply a matter of unclear communications and expectations. Once agreements have been made between you and your cooperating teacher, you may find that things run more smoothly.

How do I apply for my certificate?

Normally, we assist you in that process during the Seminar for Student Teachers, which is held once every semester. You will be given directions for applying online with the Nebraska State Department of Education.  You can get help in the Educator Certification Office, which is in the College of Education Building, C128.

Can I substitute teach during my student teaching?

Any educator responsible for teaching students and/or the supervision of professionals engaged in teaching or administration must have a current and valid Nebraska teaching certificate. There is no provision for an individual to be in "professional practice" without the certificate. If the absence of your cooperating teacher occurs at a later time in the experience, the school system may have you assume more responsibilities in the classroom, but only under the supervision of a qualified licensed substitute teacher. If you have a substitute certificate and you decide to substitute teach during your student teaching experience, please know that your placement duration will be extended as many days as you substitute. Paid days cannot count toward student teaching.

Do I follow UNK's schedule for breaks?

No, you must follow the schedule of the school where you are student teaching. This includes parent-teacher conferences, in-service workshops and faculty meetings.

How soon will I begin to teach?

We hope you will be getting involved immediately by learning the students’ names and helping your cooperating teacher in small ways.  You and your cooperating teacher, along with your supervisor, will discuss how you begin to take over the classroom duties.  There is no set schedule for this; rather, it depends on the decisions made by the three of you.  The more time you spend teaching, the better prepared you will be for your first teaching job.

Can I work in the evenings and on weekends during student teaching?

Teaching can be very exhausting, and it must come first. While employment during student teaching is not prohibited, it is strongly advised against. The student teacher is expected to maintain regular faculty hours and follow the cooperating school's calendar of workdays, holidays, vacation, etc. In addition, the student teacher is expected to participate in the appropriate extra-curricular and professional activities of the cooperating teacher. These activities may take place in the evenings and on the weekends. Failure to maintain the school hours for any reason may result in a termination and/or failure of the student teaching field experience.

How do I go about setting up my credential file?

We suggest you visit the Career Services Office on campus or go to their web page for more information. Information will be provided at the Student Teaching Seminar each semester.

Are there any websites that might be helpful to me during student teaching?

Yes! There is a Resources section on Blackboard which has information on many topics/issues that arise during student teaching.  You will have access to this once you have registered for student teaching.

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions.

Have any other questions? Sent them to: knippingam@unk.edu