Student Teaching FAQs


If I don’t plan to student teach until a later semester, is it okay to complete my student teaching application now?

You can submit an application up to two semesters in advance. Please note that, after you've saved your application, you should still go back in shortly before the actual deadline and do a final review – adding practicum/methods experience information, reading your autobiographical information one more time, and making any other changes.

If I am acquainted with a teacher who wants me to student teach with him/her, what should I do?

You should request that the teacher go to his/her building administrator with this information. In most cases, we contact the building principal about placements. In larger districts, we work with a district contact – often in the HR office. The guidelines given to administrators include a request for a teacher who has taught a minimum of three years, is not related to the student teacher, and is an excellent teacher recommended by the administrator. Students are not to self-place.

If my placement request is not approved, will I be given a reason?

Sometimes the administrator or district contact shares a reason with us and sometimes they do not. We will only share the reason if that person has given us permission to do so. Some reasons for non-placement include:

  • Several universities “competing” for placements
  • Low GPA or numerous grades of D or F
  • Poorly written autobiographical information (spelling or grammar errors)
  • Past bad experience with a student teacher in that building
  • Districts that allow their teachers to take a student teacher only once during a school year
  • “High stakes” standardized testing (especially in spring)
  • A cooperating teacher that needs more experience before taking a student teacher


Why might my department not approve my location requests for student teaching?

  • A need for more diverse placements in your experiences (required by NCATE/DESE)
  • Cooperating teacher doesn’t have enough experience
  • You graduated from the same school that you are requesting
  • You have relatives in the building or district that you are requesting


When should I be "nervous" if I haven't heard about my student teaching placement?

We ask that spring student teachers contact us only after December 1st and fall student teachers contact us after May 1st so that we can put our energies in the many placements. (You will receive emails from our office long before this time so you'll know that we're working on your placement. If you do not receive an email a day or so after the application submission deadline telling you that it has been received, please call or email us.)


What happens if my clearances lapse during student teaching?

It is your responsibility to check your Test Scores screen in My Missouri State/Banner and take care of updating these well before they expire. If even one clearance lapses, you will be “held” from student teaching until it is current again.


What happens if I have issues that would appear on a background check during my student teaching?

Student teachers are held to the same standard of conduct as the regular classroom teacher, both inside and out of school. If your conduct becomes a reason for concern, the University will follow the guidelines listed on our website. The consequences of your conduct may require that our office, in consultation with your department, do one or more of the following: change your placement, remove you from student teaching, or not recommend you for certification.


What are my options if I have limited transportation?

Student teachers must arrange for their own transportation to and from the placement location(s).


What should I do if my student teaching experience isn’t going well?

Since this is highly confidential information, you should share this only with your cooperating teacher and supervisor. First, you should communicate any questions or concerns in a professional manner to your cooperating teacher. If the situation doesn’t improve, you would then share the information with your university supervisor, who will work with you and your cooperating teacher to keep lines of communication open and offer suggestions to make the situation better. If there are still concerns, the university supervisor will contact your education program coordinator for assistance/guidance.