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Student Teaching

Academics / Departments & Programs / Education / Student Teaching

The semester-long student teaching internship will be the the culmination of your education experience. Under the supervision of faculty members and master teachers, you will integrate and expand on what you've learned to reach your intellectual goals.

Calvin provides varying student teaching experiences for education majors, allowing them to try urban vs. suburban, lower socio-economic vs. higher socio-economic, lower vs. upper elementary settings, etc.” Quote from school principal

The education program at Calvin University is based on the belief that all teachers should be responsive and transformative educators. This intense, in-depth experience provides an opportunity for students to use what they have learned in the program and to demonstrate their competence as a teacher. Individual conferences, seminars and assignments will help students reflect on their experiences and assess their own progress throughout the semester.

All student teaching internships include:

  • One to two weeks of guided observation, curriculum review, and co-planning.
  • At least two weeks of full-time teaching.
  • Observation in other classrooms and other schools.
  • Formal observation by a university supervisor and mentor teacher.
  • Attendance at a weekly seminar course at Calvin.
Mentor resources

Resources for teacher mentors


Fall and spring semester: elementary education
Fall only: secondary math, sciences and physical education
Spring only: special education and secondary: art, English, world languages, music, history, and social studies.

Contact Jane Genzink in the education department


Expectations for Calvin University Teacher Candidates
  1. You are mindful that each student and parent is created in the image of God.
  2. You will respect points of view that differ from your own.
  3. You will celebrate diversity among your students as part of God’s plan for creation.
  4. You will examine your own assumptions and change these assumptions based on new understandings.
  5. You will make instructional decisions that support the learning of all your students.
  6. You will make the relevance, purpose, and value of the subject matters you teach clear to your students.
  7. You will plan creative, standards-based units that include thoughtful, complete daily lesson plans.
  8. You will foster the development of your classroom as a caring community.
  9. You will treat students, parents, and colleagues with respect.
  10. You will accept constructive feedback and use it to shape your behavior.
  11. You will participate actively in professional growth opportunities.
  12. You will teach with enthusiasm and demonstrate a love for learning.

Please see the Statement of Commitment to Professionalism for a more detailed articulation of these attitudes and dispositions. 

Eligibility and Application Process for Student Teaching Internship
  • Students must be eligible for student teaching the semester PRIOR to student teaching.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 overall AND in your major(s) and minor(s).
  • Major/Minor Departmental Requirements, such as departmental screening tests or prerequisite courses, must be met. See the Departmental Requirements for details.
  • The Education Department must have valid adult/child CPR and first-aid cards on file before you begin the student teaching placement. See the CPR and First Aid page for details.

Application Process:

    • A student teaching application must be completed the year PRIOR to the academic year (fall or spring) in which you plan to student teach.
    • All students will participate in a formal interview with the Education 345 or 346 Leadership Team responsible for making student teaching placements. During this interview, we will discuss placements that would supplement and diversify your experiences thus far in the program. Please be prepared to articulate qualities/characteristics that you are hoping exist in your placement so as to encourage further development for you as a teacher.
    • Secondary candidates completing two majors should discuss the guidelines on the Other Details tab with advisors from both major departments before applying to student teach.
Important Due Dates:
      • December 1: Application due for fall teacher interns.
        Check email for your application or contact Emily Reisler if you haven't received one yet.
      • January 1: Off-site proposals due for fall teacher interns.
      • Late January/Early February: Interviews for fall placements held; resume and course information page due at interview.
      • March 1: Chicago Semester Program applications due.
Late Fees:

Late applications will require a $30.00 late fee. Applications will NOT be accepted after April 15 without the permission of the Dean of Education. 


The Coordinator of Field Placements along with the Leadership Team is responsible for all assignments. Please do not try to arrange your own placement as Calvin University must follow the procedures of the school district and requirements placed upon us by our accrediting agency. Additionally, the team considers your classroom experiences, availability of placements, interview, and date of your application when making assignments. It is our goal that all interns have diverse experiences throughout their preparation. For this reason, please be open to a variety of grade levels and types of schools. Diverse experiences like this will help provide a well-rounded preparation for you as you enter the field.

Background Check

All candidates complete a background check process during the three months prior to the student teaching internship. Instructions will be shared during the placement and orientation process. Interns are responsible for any background check fees. Candidates with two internship semesters only need to complete one background check prior to the first internship semester.

Off-Site Student Teaching:

Students interested in student teaching outside of West Michigan may indicate interest on the student teaching application.  Elementary students are eligible to apply to the Chicago Semester Program (strongly recommended for candidates interested in teaching in Illinois). Other locations for both elementary and secondary students vary by semester.  Participation in this program is limited and requires completion of additional criteria: recommendations from two previous instructors, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and an interview with Off-Site Committee Members. Contact Jane Genzink in the Education Department if interested. 

Placement of Teacher Interns

Mentor teachers for the student teaching experience are identified collaboratively by experienced Calvin Field Supervisors, the Field Placement Coordinator, and the Education Leadership Team. Written feedback from supervisors as well as former teacher interns is also maintained and reviewed when considering use of a returning mentor teacher.

The following criteria are used in selecting mentor teachers in both public and non-public schools:

  • The teacher under consideration will possess a valid certificate and appropriate endorsements.
  • The teacher will have completed a minimum of three years of teaching.
  • The teacher under consideration will have received positive recommendations from former teacher interns and/or university supervisors.
  • The teacher will have approval from the principal or another appropriate administrator to host a teacher intern.

New mentor teachers are considered upon recommendation of an experienced field supervisor, a university professor or a K -12 building principal who knows the Calvin University Education Program as well as the practice of the recommended classroom teacher. Recommended teachers are those that are noted to be both excellent models of educational practice as well as strong mentors for pre-service teachers. Many times, a site visit with the building principal and/or classroom teacher follows recommendation to assure an appropriate fit exists.

Placements will ensure that a teacher candidate has had pre-certification experience in a variety of settings. The Coordinator of Field Placements is responsible for monitoring this requirement.

Calendar and Schedule Information for Student Teaching Internship

The length of the elementary and secondary student teaching internships shall be one full semester. Variations for those in Special Education and Early Childhood exist. 

Start dates for fall placements: Students are often required to begin at a date earlier than the university start date. A number of area K-12 schools begin prior to Labor Day. Often there are in-service days, staff development events, and open house opportunities that precede the start of the school year. Teacher interns are encouraged to attend.

Start dates for spring placements: The semester generally starts the Monday following Calvin’s Interim break. Students are required to follow the spring break recess of the K-12 school placement, not Calvin’s spring break. This policy applies to all students including athletes and students in music programs and ensembles. Exceptions to this rule may only be granted through an appeal to the ­Dean of Education.

Outside Obligations: Teacher interns are strongly encouraged to keep the student teaching semester free of outside obligations such as employment and extracurricular activities. If outside obligations are interfering with your performance in your student teaching placement you will be asked to limit or eliminate these obligations. Please recall the commitment you signed upon entry to the education program.

Fees and Transportation Subsidy

Transportation Subsidy:  Transportation during the student teaching internship is the responsibility of the student. If the student will not have a car, please indicate this on the student teaching application and the Placement Office will make an effort to place the student with another Calvin student or within the city bus line; however, this cannot be guaranteed. Our primary goal is to place the student with an excellent model and mentor teacher and in an environment that will provide opportunities for growth and development.

Students who request a specific school are not eligible for the subsidy. Students who qualify will be sent a voucher at the end of the semester. After the voucher is processed, a check will be mailed to the student.

Responsibilities of the Teacher Intern

During the semester of student teaching, the intern will have significant responsibilities both as a professional educator and as a college student. 

Teaching Responsibilities 

Throughout the semester, there should be a gradual increase in teaching responsibility, beginning with one subject and adding subject areas and classroom responsibilities until the appropriate time at which the student is expected to have full responsibility for the planning and directing of the school day.  Observation of the teacher in each subject area or class should occur before the teacher intern takes on the responsibility of teaching that subject.

The 14 week semester is usually divided as follows:

1) One or two weeks of guided observation, curriculum review, and co-planning.

2) Co-teaching and co-planning with the gradual assumption by the teacher intern of a full-time teaching load.

3) At least two weeks of full-time teaching (which may be consecutive or may be divided depending on mentor teacher and university supervisor preference).

4) Gradual return of full-time teaching responsibilities to the teacher.

5) Observation in other classrooms including those in other schools.

The two 7-week semesters (Art, PE, Music) follow the same progression with a minimum of one week of full-time teaching in each placement and a more accelerated pace of taking on lead teaching responsibilities.

Planning Responsibilities 

  • Teacher interns are required to complete a long-term plan with their mentor teacher that outlines a gradual progression in responsibilities.
  • Teacher interns are expected to prepare written plans. Written lesson plans for all teaching must be approved by the mentor teacher and presented to the university supervisor.
  • Teacher interns will design and teach at least one unit which fulfills the expanded unit requirement. Multiple units will most likely be designed and taught. Units must be based on the curriculum goals and standards of the school or district.
  • Teacher interns are asked to organize materials into a lesson planning binder that the university supervisor may review at each observation. All weekly and daily lesson plans must be organized and accessible throughout the semester and will be handed in at the end of the student teaching experience for evaluation.

Additional details and descriptions pertaining to planning may be found in the course syllabus and assignments.

Seminar and Coursework Responsibilities 

In addition to the responsibilities associated with the classroom placement, the intern will also attend a weekly seminar on the college campus and have assignments associated with this seminar.  Specific course requirements may be found in the course syllabus. 

Observations of the Intern

Throughout the semester long internship, the teacher intern will be observed regularly by the university supervisor. Typically, the university supervisor will make five or six formal observations.  Additional details and expectations will be shared by the university supervisor.

Professional Requirements of the Teacher Intern

Professional Dress

Teacher interns are expected to dress in a professional manner at all times. Business casual is the recommended attire. This topic is covered during the orientation meeting.

Attendance during the Internship—All interns should

  • Attend all scheduled school meetings and in-services unless otherwise arranged with the mentor teacher and university supervisor. 
  • Follow school policy regarding arrival time and required time on the school campus.  Observe the vacation days of the assigned school, not Calvin University.
  • Interviewing Time: The teacher intern is allowed up to two days for teaching interviews throughout the semester. This must be pre-arranged in consultation with the mentor teacher and university supervisor and used for interviewing purposes only.
  • Absences: Interns should determine a procedure with their mentor teacher for dealing with unavoidable absences. Know the necessary phone numbers and calling-in times.
  • Interns are responsible for making arrangements to have lesson plans and materials available to their teacher if absent.
  • Interns should call their university supervisor by 7:00 a.m. if going to be absent on a day during which an observation is scheduled.

Additional and very important professional behaviors and dispositions are reviewed in the mandatory orientation meeting and described in the Statement to Commitment of Professionalism (PDF).

Policies and Legal Considerations

Policies of the Placement District, School and Classroom

Thorough knowledge of school and/or district policies is essential during this internship.  The university’s liability insurance covers teacher interns only to the extent that they are following school policies in their dealings with students. Teacher interns must discuss school policies with mentor teachers and building principals during the first week in the classroom.  Teacher interns should request a school policy manual and review it carefully. 

The Substitute Teaching Policy

In general, Calvin University discourages the use of teacher interns as regular substitute teachers. Since the purpose of student teaching is to provide an opportunity for a novice teacher to work closely with an experienced teacher for an extended period of time, the teacher intern should be working in a supervised teaching situation as much as possible. However, there are times when a teacher intern may be called upon to perform the duties of a substitute teacher, and the university is willing to allow this to happen provided the following conditions are met:

  • A teacher intern may only substitute in the assigned classroom, not other classes. If there is an emergency need for a substitute teacher in another class, the mentor teacher should take that class while the teacher intern remains in his or her regular setting.
  • Teacher interns must qualify for substitute teaching according to district guidelines. (They must be legally qualified to substitute in that district.)
  • The university supervisor, mentor teacher, and teacher intern must agree that the teacher intern is ready to substitute before he or she may take on that responsibility. Teacher interns must report any substitute teaching they do to their university supervisor.
  • Decisions about payment of teacher interns for substitute teaching are up to the school district or building principal (Guidelines: Occasional partial day commitments such as the Cooperating Teacher Conference or curriculum committee meetings do not require substitute pay. Substitute pay is appropriate for full-day substituting or multiple half-day commitments).
  • We encourage you to speak with your building principal prior to applying as a substitute. It is the responsibility of the intern to follow district requirements for securing substitute teacher status. Please recognize that this will require the intern to pay an application fee to the agency that houses his/her information (EDUStaff » is used by most school districts in Kent County). Additionally, the intern will need to be fingerprinted under the school employment code. Working through this process is a decision left up to each intern.
  • The amount of substitute teaching a teacher intern is asked to do should remain very limited throughout the student teaching semester.
  • University supervisors are to monitor the amount of substitute teaching teacher interns do and report it to the Dean of Education at the end of the semester. It should be reported immediately if teacher interns are asked to do more than 4-5 days of substitute teaching throughout the semester or if they are frequently asked to substitute for their teachers without payment.

When Teachers in the Cooperating District are Engaged in a Work Stoppage

It is Calvin University's policy to take a neutral stance in any labor dispute that involves a work stoppage in a school district in which we have placed teacher interns or teacher aides.  In order to ensure the professional well-being and personal safety of our students, Calvin University teacher interns and teacher aides will be removed from their field placements when a work stoppage has been declared.  The students will return to their placements when the dispute is settled and teachers return to their classrooms. If the work stoppage continues for a time period that will cause significant disruption to the student's learning experiences as determined by the Dean of Education, a new placement will be found.

Complaint Policy and Resolution Procedures

In accordance with regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education, institutions offering distance and online education must provide enrolled students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting agency and with the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in the student's state. Full description of the Calvin policy and related procedures may be found here

State Policies: Calvin operates in several states by providing internship placements, online courses, or semester-long programs. Below is a list of the states for which Calvin’s Education Department is currently approved to offer courses. A link with complaint information for the appropriate State agency is provided:

California New Mexico

Institutional Complaints: Calvin is committed to a quality educational experience for all students and welcomes direct feedback via the mechanisms outlined in Calvin’s Complaint Policies

Evaluation of the Teacher Intern

At the midpoint and at the conclusion of the internship, the mentor teacher and the teacher intern will complete evaluation forms to be submitted electronically. Students in 7 week placements will have a final evaluation by their mentor teacher at the end of each 7 week placement. Evaluations completed by the mentor teacher and university supervisor will be shared with the teacher intern. 

Teacher Interns: Access the Self-Evaluation Form online.
Calvin Supervisors: Access the Supervisor Evaluation Form online.

Grade for the  Internship Semester

The final grade takes into consideration the following:

  • The mentor teacher’s midterm and final evaluation.
  • The candidates’ midterm self-evaluation, final self-evaluation, and Final Reflective Activity.
  • The university supervisor’s observations in the classroom setting.
  • Attendance and participation in seminars.
  • Semester assignments.

Time Record

Interns will also need to submit a completed Time Sheet to the Education Office. This time record is one of the requirements for certification and must be signed by the mentor teacher.

Accommodations and/or Additional Support

If you have a special learning need or documented disability, we are eager to work with you to determine appropriate support systems. Please notify your university supervisor at the beginning of the semester if special support or accommodations are needed. The Center for Student Success also provides services for students with disabilities.

Resources and Contact Information

During this semester-long internship of student teaching, questions or concerns unique to this experience may arise.  The various resources and contacts below may be helpful:

Questions about the Education Program -- please contact:  
Dr. Brian Bolt
Dean of Education

Questions about student teaching in the elementary program – please contact:  
Jane Genzink

Questions about teacher certification or technical support for the online evaluation process– please contact:
Shari Brouwer

Questions about practice interviews, resumes, and employment – please contact:

Career Center: Resources for Education Students

Questions about rental/borrowing of AV equipment – please contact:
Instructional Resources: 526-6334

Questions about borrowing of curricular materials – please contact:
Curriculum Center: 526-6301

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