College of Arts and Sciences

ELA Student Teaching Requirements

As you start your semester student teaching, there are a number of things you must complete. Below you will find a list of your English Education requirements for what you need to make sure you complete in order to obtain licensure.


You are required to complete the edTPA (see next page for more info) in your first eight (8) weeks of student teaching. During this time you will meet with the Director of English Education a minimum of two (2) times to discuss your plans for completion of your edTPA. In order to complete the edTPA you must register with Pearson where you will upload your Portfolio. Once you register with Pearson you can also receive feedback from the Director of English Education.

Meetings for the edTPA during student teaching will be determined by the Director and student teachers based on the dates which the edTPA must be submitted. You must attend a pre-Student Teaching meeting the semester PRIOR to student teaching to determine return dates and the edTPA schedule.

Student Teaching Reflections:

The semester prior to student teaching, you are to find an English Department Faculty Advisor. Your Faculty Advisor should be someone in the department who you know, may have had classes with, and have a positive relationship with. The FA does not need to be an English Education professor, but it should be someone you feel comfortable with and who you feel will provide you with valuable feedback during your student teaching experience. You should contact a faculty member who you wish to work with during your time in EDUC 439 and confirm their willingness to work with you. If you are having trouble coming up with a FA, please talk with Dr. Buchanan about possibilities. Once you have a FA in place, set up an appointment with them prior to the end of the semester to let them know about your placement, contact information, and other logistics you need to work out. Also let Dr. Buchanan know who you are working with so it is on file.

Over the course of your student teaching experience, you will write 8 formal reflections. These reflections will be submitted to your English Department Faculty Advisor following the reflections topic guide and timeline below. Setting up and responding to reflections in this way gives both you and your mentor teacher time to read and respond to your reflections. By spreading reflections out across the semester, we hope that you will both benefit from the experience and learn a bit more about each other. If you have other questions or concerns you want to address with your Faculty Advisor, feel free to do that as well.

The purpose of these reflections is to take time during your teaching experience to reflect on your activities, successes, challenges, and other feelings. Your tendency might be to merely tell what happens during any given day, but that is better left to your personal diary.  Instead, aim for discussion, analysis, critical thinking, and reflection.  Your faculty readers hope that you will pose questions and show that you are capable of entering real teaching conversations.  Reflection necessitates that you think about your successes, as well as your vulnerabilities and difficulties. 

  1. Reflections should be, at minimum, one single-spaced page and attached to your emails as Word Documents. Make sure you title and date each reflection.
  2. While you will not need to write a final-draft copy, your essays should be proofread and your assignments as error free as possible.
  3. Remember that you are a guest in your mentor teacher’s classroom and school.  While you may not always understand why he or she does things a particular way, you will want to take every opportunity to ask questions and learn alternatives.  Your essay entries should always be respectful of other professionals.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot imagine other possibilities, but it does mean that you will need to be a professional at all times.
  4. These essays are important, as teacher reflection is an integral part of teaching effectively. You must complete the essays to be recommended for licensure. Dr. Buchanan will check with your English department faculty advisors throughout the semester to discuss your progress.
  5. You must submit a minimum of 8 journals entries to be recommended for licensure .

Topics and Timeline

Below are topics and due dates. You do not need to respond to all the suggestions for each reflection, but you should be detailed and reflective. Again, remember to go beyond listing day-to-day activities by including analysis, critical thinking, and reflection of your student teaching experiences.

Reflection #1: The Basics (Due after two weeks of student teaching)

Share about your school, classroom, and mentor teacher. Describe the neighborhood/community, the building, the classroom, your students, and your mentor teacher. What classes are you teaching? What are you excited about? Nervous about?

Reflection #2: Classroom Routines (Due after four weeks of student teaching)

Describe the systems and routines established in the classroom. What routines have you adopted? What have you developed as your own? What is the discipline system used by your school and mentor teacher? What struggles are you having with routines and discipline? What is working well? Has anything surprised you about the routines and discipline procedures?

Reflection #3: Student Groups (Due after six weeks of student teaching)

Describe the different groups of students in your classrooms. What have you learned about the students’ personalities, backgrounds, and learning styles? What experiences are you having with IEPs or 504, gifted or disabled students, English language learners? Who stands out to you? Who do you still need to get a “read” on? How can you encourage them to participate or engage more?

Reflection #4: Assessment and Grading (Due after eight weeks of student teaching)

You’re at the halfway point in student teaching and should now be at the point where you are working with all your classes. You’ve created and evaluated assessments and done grading. What is that experience like? What different assessments have you created? Are you keeping up with grading? What is the homework policy in the classroom, school, or district? What are you using from your previous classroom and block experiences to help you with assessment? What are your grading struggles? Successes?

Reflection #5: Unit and Lesson Design (Due after ten weeks of student teaching)

Describe some of the units and lessons you’ve created and taught. What materials are you using? How are you using your assessments to inform instruction? What types of student-centered lessons and learning experiences have you created? How are you using technology? Reflect on the knowledge of theory, research, and practice in English Language Arts that you’ve had so far to help you design relevant, standards-based curriculum. What are your successes? Your struggles?

Reflection #6: Social Justice in the Classroom (Due after twelve weeks of student teaching)

One of the goals of English Language Arts teaching is to incorporate what you know about theories and research about social justice, diversity, equity, and student identities into your classrooms to enhance students’ learning opportunities. Describe the ways in which you are doing this in your classroom. What theories, research, and pedagogies are you using which plan instruction that is responsive to students’ local, national, and international histories, individual identities, and language dialects? Give specific examples of experiences or lessons.

Reflection #7: Families, Colleagues, and Communities (Due after fourteen weeks of student teaching)

Describe the ways in which you have interacted with students’ families, your colleagues and the community. What events have you participated in outside the classroom that showed your leadership, collaboration, ongoing professional development, and community engagement? Describe any conferences you’ve had with families, interactions with colleagues, community events you’ve attended. How have you become a part of the larger school community?

Reflection #8: Final Thoughts (Due after sixteen weeks of student teaching)

You’re done. Tell us what you’ve learned. What experiences were your favorites? What did you struggle with the most? What did you find the most rewarding? What will you miss? What will you change in your classroom? What will you continue to do? What questions, concerns, fears do you have as you move forward?

Make sure you thank your Faculty Advisor for working with you during the semester.