The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), which administers the rules, regulations, and guidelines associated with certification for teachers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, believes that early and frequent placement in school settings enhances the ability of pre-service teachers to develop the skills and dispositions needed to be effective educators. We agree with them. Supervised field experiences allow for increased involvement in school settings as candidates progress through the program and may include school site visits, microteaching, classroom observation, simulation activities, and case study work, depending on the course to which a particular field experience is connected. All students are expected to demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism on each and every visit to a field placement. If you ever have any questions about what constitutes professional behavior or dress in a field setting, the safest thing to do is ask. Any faculty member in the department will gladly assist you as you navigate the professional expectations of your host school or other educational entity.
Required Field Work & Clearances
Generally speaking, most students seeking certification are not required to begin field work until they take their second course in the program, assuming they follow the preferred sequence of taking Education 199 first and Education 201 second. Full and complete clearances are generally not required for field work completed prior to admission to the Teacher Education Program, meaning that most students will not need to complete the clearance process until the spring of their sophomore year when they apply for admission. With that said, it is always a safe bet to check with your course instructor to ensure that all clearances and other requirements have been met before beginning any field work. It is your instructor's responsibility to notify you of field requirements in the course syllabus and to answer any questions you may have about field work; it is your responsibility, however, to ensure that you comply with these rules, regulations, and guidelines.
Professionalism in Field Work
Students participating in field experiences represent Gettysburg College--including the faculty of the Education Department, fellow students, alumni, and indeed the whole College community--when they do. As such, it is expected that students will maintain the highest levels of professionalism whenever contact is made with school personnel, students, parents, or others in the community. We expect students to dress appropriately, communicate professionally, and to uphold the highest levels of professional decorum whenever they enter local schools. In short, when you look good we look good--do your best to represent Gettysburg well not only for yourself, but also for everyone else affiliated with the College.
Documenting Your Field Experiences
We have created a handy form for you to use to document your field work, complete with reminders about professional decorum and dress. You should take this form with you whenever you enter the field to complete a field experience for a course. Paper copies of the form are also available in the Education office (106 Weidensall).