The University of Texas at Dallas
School of General Studies
Teacher Development Center

Field Experience

UTD Teacher Development Center
Frequently Asked Questions for Field Experience at UTD

Link to information on    * Early Field Experience      * Student Teaching      * Teaching Internships      

Q. Why does UTD require early field experience for teacher certification candidates?

A. Early field experience is an important part of a student's preparation to become a teacher. It is designed to allow you to spend time in the schools working with teachers and students and becoming familiar with the culture of the school community. State law requires that educator preparation entities provide evidence of on-going and relevant field-based experiences in a variety of educational settings with diverse student populations. This experience of being in a school with an observation template helps a student focus their inquiry and gives them an opportunity to learn from "best practices" (or sometimes even from "worst practices"). This provides time for students to examine their own philosophy of teaching and consider the practices they will use in their own classroom. Students who have not worked in a classroom may be entering a career path for which they are not suited but they may not realize that unless they are given an opportunity to work with students in a school setting. Even those who know for sure that they are committed to teaching as a career benefit from the opportunity to examine schools without the responsibility of being "on the job". Once the student is actually working in the school, it is very difficult to take the time to just look at their environment with a dispassionate point of view.

Q. What should I expect from early field experiences at UTD?

A. The goals for early field experiences in teacher certification at The University of Texas at Dallas are:

  1. To provide appropriate field experiences for all teacher candidates.
  2. To prepare UTD students for employment as a teacher by offering all students field experiences in several school settings - urban, suburban/rural; diverse socio-economic environments; best practices. Students cannot do all of their early field experiences in the same school setting.
  3. To link the field experience with the course content in the related class.

Q. Does every student have to participate in the early field experience requirement associated with the course? Is anyone exempt?

A. Students who provide proof that they are under contract as a full-time teacher or a full-time teacher's aid in an accredited school may be exempt from the 40-hour requirement associated with tutoring or observation.  Exempt students are NOT exempt from the observation project associated with the course. All students in the class must complete the related project as designed by the instructor. This is part of the syllabus requirement for the course.

Q. How do I receive my field experience school assignment?

A. All placements for early field experience will be made by the Teacher Development Center in schools with which we have a partnership.  At the beginning of each semester a representative from the Teacher Development Center will visit classrooms of courses in which field experience is required.  During the visit, the representative will explain the early field experience requirements for that particular course and answer student questions.  Students will complete and return the necessary paperwork for field experience placement.

Students are guests and learners in UTD partnership schools. Teachers in the schools are sharing their time, talents, and classrooms.  UTD students should respect that privilege and always fulfill any obligations or agreements. Early field experience will be what each student makes of it .