Module 5: Setting and Understanding Expectations

Module 5 Progress

What strategies help to effectively inform expectations during an early field experience?

Early field experience refers to any experience that occurs prior to student teaching. Each institution of higher education has multiple and varied experiences with their students in order to prepare them. Whether a purposeful observation or a practicum teaching experience, from the moment a PST enters your classroom, they are entering the profession of teaching. The impact that you have on a PST is huge – you are often the person that helps that person determine if the teaching profession is the right profession for them. Therefore, it is critical that students begin on the right foot with you and that you share a professional, realistic, and positive experience together.

During early field experiences, PSTs have assignments from their professors in related courses that they must complete during the experience. Whether it is examining the functions of the classroom, working with an individual child, a case study, or developing and instructing a mini lesson, the important part is that you as the mentor understand the expectations of the experience.

During early field experiences the Mentor cooperating teacher (Mentor CT) is always the primary instructor and liable for the welfare of students in their classroom. Whereas during student teaching, it is beneficial to leave the PST alone with the students for periods of time, this is not an expectation during early field experience.

Resources for Setting and Understanding Expectations

Cole, A.L and Knowles, J.G (1993) Shattered images: Understanding expectations and realities of field experiences, Teaching and Teacher Education Volume 9, Issues 5–6, October–December 1993, Pages 457-471.!

Delamarter, J. (2015). The Importance of Managing Expectations: A Challenge for Teacher Preparation Programs. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education Online.

Delamarter, J. (2019). Helping preservice teachers separate fact from fiction. Phi Delta Kappan, November 25.

Meijer, P.C., De Graaf, G., & Meirink, J. (2011). Key experiences in student teachers’ development. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 17 (1), 115-129.

Note to Pre-Service Teachers

it is critical that you share all materials and expectations you are given by your professor with your Mentor CT in a timely fashion. Never expect a Mentor CT to change their plans on the day you arrive because of something you need to do for your class. You must communicate and plan with your Mentor CT at all times!

Up Next: In module 6 you will learn about systems of communication and professional behaviors.