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Post-baccalaureate certification

Information for Graduate Students Seeking Secondary School Teaching Certification in English

This page is intended for those who have already earned a Bachelor’s Degree and wish to earn a state certificate to teach English language arts in grades 6-12.

Boise State University offers two pathways toward teaching certification in English.  Neither leads to a Masters degree.  The two pathways are:

  • A Graduate Certificate Program, offered by the College of Education, designed to take post-baccalaureate students through certification requirements in one calendar year, beginning in summer.
  • A second Bachelor’s degree program in which students earn the additional credits they need for teaching certification.

Contents:

  • The Graduate Certificate Program
  • The Second Bachelor’s Degree Program
  • Questions about prior course work
  • Getting an Advisor
  • English Teaching Courses
  • Education Courses
  • Student Teaching
  • Applying for the Teaching Certificate

Notes:

In the past we offered a Master of Arts in English, English Education emphasis, an M.A. whose credits could also be used to earn teaching certification.  This program has been discontinued and is no longer available to students.

The state department of education offers an alternative route to teaching certification which does not involve taking teacher education courses or meeting conventional teaching requirements and standards.  (See the Idaho State Department of Education’s website for more information.)  We believe that this route is best only for those few individuals who already have successful teaching experience but lack a teaching certificate–for example someone who has successfully taught in private schools.  For most career-entry teachers we believe that a program of preparation through a combination of course work and classroom internships is best for entering this challenging career.

THE GRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

The Graduate Certificate in Secondary/ K-12 Teaching is intended to take students with  Bachelor’s degrees in the subject in which they want to teach through the state required teaching courses and internships, including student teaching, within a single calendar year.

The Graduate Certificate in Secondary/ K-12 Teaching is administered by Boise State’s College of Education, not by the English department.  Graduate Certificate Program students whose major field is English will have some connections to the English Education program.  But the Program Director for this program is Dr. Ted Singletary, Education 313, 208-426-3270, tsingle@boisestate.edu .

As specified in the Graduate Catalog, applicants to this program follow and meet expectations for graduate students, including a g.p.a. of at least a 3.0 and minimum 2.75 in major and minor fields.  Also required:

  • Praxis I Writing test score of at least 172. A simple writing test that checks for basic proficiency in composition and editing. It will ask you to write a simple composition (i.e. five-paragraph essay) and complete some multiple-choice questions about grammar and usage.  No need to study for this test if you are a proficient writer.  Contact ProMetric Testing Center in Meridian at: prometric.com or 373-1815.  Plan on 4-6 weeks for scoring.
  • Praxis II test for English subject knowledge, test #0041, at least a score of 158.  It is a multiple-choice exam with questions about works of literature, writing and rhetoric, and language and linguistics.  It’s a good idea to review your old anthologies and textbooks to refresh your memory before this test.  For more information and test appointments, find Educational Testing Service online.
  • ED-TECH 202 or evidence of technology proficiency.*
  • Brief essay of experiences related to children, schools, teaching.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Applications: http://eduction.boisestate.edu/teachered/appinfo.htm In addition to the online form, submit a signed paper copy with the required attachments to the Office of Teacher Education, Education Building 722.

* Could include any of the following: passing the ETS iSkills Advanced Assessment with a minimum of 60%; ITM 104, 105, and 106 or equivalent placement exam; take ED-TECH 202 or equivalent course.

TRANSCRIPT ANALYSES

As part of the admission process, prospective students’ transcripts will be analyzed to determine whether in previous course work students have already met some of the program requirements, or more often, whether there may be additional English courses that are required by the state for English teaching certification that happened not to be required for the student’s undergraduate degree.  For this program, the Program Director in Education will do the transcript analysis, and that analysis may differ somewhat from analyses done in the English Department, but both are based on the state guidelines.  Besides the g.p.a., here are the guidelines we use in the English Department:

  • At least 45 semester credits in English language arts courses.  (Courses listed below would count toward the 45 if you have not yet earned this total.  “English language arts courses” include courses in English and linguistics, and may include courses in areas such as journalism, communications, and theatre if coursework directly applies to preparation to teach English language arts.)
  • ENGL 301 Teaching Composition, or equivalent.
  • ENGL 381 Teaching Sec. School English, or equivalent.  (An English teaching methods course with emphasis on planning units and lessons.  A general teaching methods course for all subjects is not equivalent to this content-specific course.)
  • ENGL 481 Lit for Jr/Sr High, or equivalent.  (This course surveys the range of literature taught in secondary school, including poetry, drama, essays, classic novels, and young adult fiction.  A course in only one of these, such as young adult literature, may not be sufficiently comprehensive.)
  • ENGL  275 Intro to Literary Studies, or a course in literary criticism.  At the discretion of the professor analyzing the transcript, this requirement could be satisfied with evidence of knowledge of literary criticism gained in literature courses.
  • LING  305  Intro to Language Studies, or equivalent.  (Professional teaching standards require a thorough knowledge of English as a language system.)
  • Any linguistics course beyond LING 305
  • Two writing courses 200 level or higher  (Since about half of what secondary school teachers teach is writing, the state requires that they have actually studied and practiced writing in at least two courses 200 level or higher—and not just have written successful literature papers.  It is possible, however, to consider alternative writing experiences such as workplace writing, if supported with samples and a supervisor’s letter of recommendation.  Writing courses outside of English, such as news writing or playwriting, will count in this category.)
  • A course in British literature.  (Not necessarily a survey course.  The state will accept specific British literature courses with titles like Shakespeare, Milton, or English Victorian Poetry.)
  • A course in American literature. (Again, not necessarily a survey course.)

For further information see English Teaching Courses below.

For further Questions and Answers About Prior Course Work, see below.

SCHEDULE

Applications due by: the first Friday of February

Summer term courses (mid-May):

  • ED-CIFS 507 Foundations of American Education (3 credits)
  • ED-CIFS 508 Learning and Development of Students (3 credits)
  • ED-CIFS 509 Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment grades 6-12 (3 credits)

Fall semester (Aug-Dec):

  • ED-CIFS 561 Teaching Internship in a school, 150 hours min (3 credits)
  • ED-SPED 550 Teaching Secondary Students with Exceptional Needs (3 credits)
  • ED-LTCY 544 Content Literacy in Secondary Schools (3 credits)
  • ENGL 381 English Teaching (content-specific methods course) (3 credits)

Spring semester (Jan-May):

  • ED-CIFS 565 (junior high/middle school) or 566 (high school) Student Teaching (12 credits)
  • ED-CIFS 550 Student Teaching Seminar (3 credits)

In addition to these, we strongly recommend students to take ENGL 301 Teaching Composition and ENGL 481 Literature for Junior/ Senior High if they have not already done so.  Successful English teaching requires substantial knowledge about how to teach writing and literature, and one of the strengths of the undergraduate English teaching program at BSU is that students take courses in writing and literature instruction and thus come to the final English Teaching course ready to learn how to integrate and apply this previous knowledge in the construction of unit and lesson plans, goals, and assessments.  The Graduate Certificate Program, in its dedication to speedy preparation, leaves out these two courses that we believe provide essential background for English teaching.  If you have not already had these courses or courses like them, you would probably take these two additional courses during fall semester.

ADVISEMENT AND FURTHER INFORMATION

Your progress in this program will be guided primarily by the College of Education.  Your advisor is the Program Director, who can provide more information.  But even though this is not an English Education program, we consider you one of ours because at BSU you are preparing to be an English teacher.  So feel free to consult the English Education faculty whenever you need to.

For further information, see below the following topics:  Student Teaching and Applying for the Teaching Certificate.

See also the link  Seeking a Teaching Job in the navigation column.

*       *       *        *        *       *

THE SECOND  BACHELOR’S DEGREE PROGRAM

In this pathway to teaching certification in English, students officially enroll at BSU as if to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching, which is an emphasis area of the English major.  Of course, most prospective teachers who already have a Bachelor’s degree do not need another.  But being a “second degree-seeking student” gives students the official status necessary to enroll for and earn the credits required for teaching certification.  (Once they have earned the teaching certificate, most students simply do not complete the second Bachelor’s degree.)

One advantage to this route to certification is that students need not meet the 3.0 cumulative g.p.a. requirement of the Graduate Certificate Program, but rather need a minimum 2.5 to enter the teaching program.  Students may also elect to take less expensive undergraduate credits that still meet certification requirements.  In addition, this route provides greater flexibility in scheduling than the Graduate Certificate Program.  However, depending on your schedule, it may not result in completing certification within a single calendar year as the Graduate Certificate Program does.

TRANSCRIPT ANALYSES

One of the first things you should do is to request from the English department an analysis of your prior college course work to determine which state English teaching requirements you have already met.  The transcript analysis will also determine whether there are any additional English courses that are required by the state for teaching certification that happened not to be required for by your undergraduate degree.  You will then have a list of exactly what you need to take.

To request the transcript analysis, contact the English Department Advising Coordinator Jill Heney, jheney@boisestate.edu, or English Education director Bruce Robbins, brobbins@boisestate.edu .

Here are the guidelines we use in the English Department:

  • 2.5 cumulative g.p.a. and 2.75 average for English courses.
  • At least 45 semester credits in English language arts courses.  (Courses listed below would count toward the 45 if you have not yet earned this total.  “English language arts courses” include courses in English and linguistics, and may include courses in areas such as journalism, communications, and theatre if coursework directly applies to preparation to teach English.)
  • ENGL 301 Teaching Composition, or equivalent.
  • ENGL 381 Teaching Sec. School English, or equivalent.  (An English teaching methods course.  A general teaching methods course for all subjects is not equivalent to this content-specific course.)
  • ENGL 481 Lit for Jr/Sr High, or equivalent.  (This course surveys the range of literature taught in secondary school, including poetry, drama, essays, classic novels, and young adult fiction.  A course in only one of these, such as young adult literature, may not be sufficiently comprehensive.)
  • ENGL  275 Intro to Literary Studies, or a course in literary criticism. At the discretion of the professor analyzing the transcript, this requirement could be satisfied with evidence of knowledge of literary criticism gained in literature courses.
  • LING  305  Intro to Language Studies, or equivalent.  (Professional teaching standards require a thorough knowledge of English as a language system.)
  • Any linguistics course beyond LING 305.
  • Two writing courses 200 level or higher  (Since about half of what secondary school teachers teach is writing, the state requires that they have actually studied and practiced writing in at least two courses 200 level or higher—and not just have written successful literature papers.  It is possible, however, to consider alternative writing experiences such as workplace writing, if supported with samples and a supervisor’s letter of recommendation.  Writing courses outside of English, such as news writing or playwriting, will count in this category.)
  • A course in British literature.  (Not necessarily a survey course.  The state will accept specific British literature courses with titles like Shakespeare, Milton, or English Victorian Poetry.)
  • A course in American literature. (Again, not necessarily a survey course.)

In addition to the English courses listed above, you will need to complete state-required education courses.  For information about those, click on Education Courses or scroll down to this section.

Questions about Prior Coursework

Q: I took an Adolescent Literature or Young Adult Literature course at another college.  Will it count in place of ENGL 481 Literature for Junior and Senior High School?

A: ENGL 481 includes some adolescent or young adult literature, but students also read and consider teaching literary classics and the range of literary genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction.  Most young adult literature focuses only on novel or novella-length fiction.  If your course syllabus included classics and various genres, and you have not only read a good sample of the literature but also addressed the teaching of literature, your credits are likely to be accepted as a substitution for ENGL 481.  If not, your preparation to teach would probably be enhanced by taking 481.  A class in Children’s Literature, by the way, does not count toward this requirement.

Q: I took a news writing course and a screenwriting course, but neither were English courses.   Will they count as advanced writing courses?

A: Yes.  If you studied writing and learned to write better in that course, and the course is above the freshman (100) level, the writing course will usually count.

Q: I majored in another subject as an undergraduate, but now I want to teach English as my major subject.  Can I switch to English?

A: Yes, but you will have to make up some English content courses to firm up your knowledge and skills in the discipline of English and also to meet state requirements of at least 40 credits in the major.  When your transcript is analyzed according to the procedures described above, your evaluator will consider what English courses they believe you may need to take and let you know as part of their analysis.  If you feel they have not made a fair assessment or need more information, go talk to them.

Q: My g.p.a. isn’t quite up to where it should be.  If I take a few courses and get good grades, will that improve my g.p.a.?

A: If you were an undergraduate student at Boise State, then additional credits earned at Boise State, even at the graduate level, WILL continue to effect your g.p.a.  However, if your undergraduate credits come from another college or university, new BSU credits will not change your g.p.a. from your previous institution.

Getting an Advisor

Once you have been admitted to a program, you should request an academic advisor.  If you are in the Second Degree-Seeking program, your advisor will come from the English Department faculty.  To have an advisor assigned to you, contact the English Department Advising Coordinator Jill Heney, jheney@boisestate.edu .

Advising information is also available on the internet.  You are, of course, reading information on the English Department’s advising web pages at: http://english.boisestate.edu.

The College of Education can be found at: http://education.boisestate.edu.

English Teaching Courses

ENGL 301 TEACHING COMPOSITION.  ENGL 301 is taught with ENGL 481 in a two-class time slot.  You will take both courses together so that the teaching of writing and the teaching of literature can be integrated.  (ENGL 501 is a graduate course normally for those who are already teaching.)

ENGL 481 LITERATURE FOR JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL.  You will read (or re-read) samples of the literature that is taught in secondary schools, including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, and learn some approaches and techniques for teaching literature in secondary school English.  ENGL 481 is taught with ENGL 301 in a two-class time slot.  You will take both courses together so that the teaching of writing and the teaching of literature can be integrated.  (ENGL 581 is a graduate course normally for those who are already teaching.)

ENGL 381 ENGLISH TEACHING is offered in both fall and spring semesters.  It is the main “how to teach secondary school English” teaching methods course.  In this course you will write a unit plan with lesson plans. Take this course at the same time you take ED-CIFS 401 or 561 (block II) and ED-LTCY 444 or 544 Content Literacy, after you have completed block I.  (ENGL 580 is often combined with its parallel undergraduate course ENGL 381, but requires additional work for graduate credit.)

ENGL 301, 481, and 381 are offered each fall and spring semester.

Education Courses

You must be admitted into the Teacher Education Program in order to take many of the required education courses, which are arranged in “blocks.”  You must do these things to get admitted:

  • Take and pass ED-CIFS 201 FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION with a C or higher.  (You need to earn a 3.0 g.p.a. in education courses.)
  • Take and pass EDUC 202 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY with a C or higher.  (You need to earn a 3.0 g.p.a. in all education courses.)  This course is usually offered as an online class.  You may side-step this requirement if you can show your proficiency with technology by another method such as by passing a challenge test.  To sign up for the Educational Technology Assessment (ETA), contact Dr. Todd VanDehey in the College of Education Educational Technology Department, 426-1836, TVANDEHE@boisestate.edu . Or see Dr. Ted Singletary or the Teacher Education Office for details.
  • Take and pass the Praxis I Writing test. Earn a score of 172 or higher.  Take this test as soon as possible.  It’s a simple writing test that checks for basic proficiency in composition and editing. It will ask you to write a brief composition (i.e. five-paragraph essay) and complete some multiple-choice questions about grammar and usage.  Contact ProMetric Testing Center in Meridian: prometric.com, or 373-1815.  Plan on 4-6 weeks for scoring.  English teaching majors need not take Praxis I exams in anything but writing proficiency.
  • Earn a g.p.a. of at least 2.50 in all English courses and overall, and 3.0 in education courses.
  • Complete and submit the Application for Admission to Secondary Education Courses and Placements, which you can get from the Office of Teacher Education, 7th floor of the Education building or online at: http://education.boisestate.edu/teachered .  Deadlines for submitting this application are the first Friday in February for fall semester placement, and the third Friday in September for spring semester placement.

Upon being admitted to the Teacher Education Program, you will enter the education “blocks.”  The “blocks” refer to three semesters in which some courses are clustered or blocked together as co-requisites, including time spent working in secondary schools.

Here is the College of Education’s Field Handbook link:

http://education.boisestate.edu/teachered/fieldguides.htm

BLOCK I

In Block I you take these courses at the same time:

  • ED-CIFS 301-TEACHING EXPERIENCE I (1 credit internship in a school–includes some observing and some teaching.)
  • ED-CIFS 302-LEARNING AND INSTRUCTION (4 credits)
  • ED-SPED 350-TEACHING STUDENTS WITH EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS AT THE SECONDARY LEVEL (3 credits)

For the teaching experience internship (ED-CIFS 301) you will be assigned by the Office of Teacher Education to a school and mentor teacher.  (You may not arrange your own placement, but on your application you may let the office know if you have a particular request or special conditions to consider.)  You will work in the school for a minimum of 50 hours during the semester, spread across the semester for about 4 hours per week.

Your job is to assist the teacher in teaching tasks that typically begin with routines like taking roll, giving quizzes, marking papers, and especially–working with individual students or small groups to help them with assignments.  You will begin with a little observation and gradually take on more and more of the teaching responsibilities, and by the end of the semester you should have taught a few whole-class lessons.  You should also be seeing how schools work.  Some of your time spent at home preparing lessons or marking papers may be counted toward the 50 hours (no more than 10 hours), but travel time does not count.  Time spent talking to teachers about teaching or time spent with students does count.  Please do not rush through these hours quickly so that you finish long before the end of the semester.  You can be more helpful and get better experience if you are in the school for a more prolonged time period.

BLOCK II

In Block II you will take these courses at the same time:

  • ED-CIFS 401-Professional Year–TEACHING EXPERIENCE II (2 credit internship with a mentor teacher.)
  • ED-LTCY 402 CONTENT LITERACY FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS (3 credits)
  • ENGL 381 ENGLISH TEACHING: WRITING, READING, AND LANGUAGE (3 CREDITS).  This is the Content Methods Course for English. (Some assignments in ENGL 381 are linked to the internship and Content Literacy course.)

For the Block II internship you will work in the school with your mentor teacher for a minimum of 100 hours, which is about 8 hours per week.  (There is no maximum number of hours.)  Please do not rush through these hours quickly so that you finish long before the end of the semester.  You can be more helpful and get better experience if you are in the school for a more prolonged time period.  Some of your time spent at home preparing or marking papers may be counted toward the 100 (but no more than 20 hours), but travel time does not count.

While this internship may begin with a little observation, this is mainly to be a teaching experience for you.  Work with your mentor teacher to assist in ways that often put you in a teaching role.  This is, after all, your warm-up to student teaching.

If all is well between you and your mentor teacher, and circumstances allow, you are likely to continue into student teaching with your block II mentor teacher.

If you have not already done so, then during block II you should take the Praxis II subject-matter exam in English, test # 0041, a state requirement to be completed before you can begin student teaching.  It is a multiple-choice exam with questions about works of literature, writing and rhetoric, and language and linguistics.  The passing score is 159 or better.  If you do not pass the first time, you may re-take the exam but you will not have final approval to student teach until you have passed. Allow 6 weeks after the exam for your score to be reported.

Block III

Block III is student teaching, and is intended to be taken after Block II.  If all is well, you will continue working with the same teacher and secondary school that you had for Block II.  For student teaching, you sign up for either:

  • ED-CIFS 484–Professional Year – Teaching Experience III (middle school or junior high-16 credits), or
  • ED-CIFS 485–Professional Year – Teaching Experience III (high school–16 credits)

This is student teaching, a full-time commitment.  Take no other courses this semester if possible.

For more information about Student Teaching, click here: Student Teaching or scroll down.

You may see references to a Block IV, which means a second student teaching experience for students who do dual student teaching, like P. E. majors who earn K-12 certification and must student teach both in elementary and secondary school settings during the same student-teaching semester.  Most English Teaching Majors do not need to do Block IV.

Questions and Answers About the Blocks

Q:Do I need to have completed ED-CIFS 201 and EDTECH 202 before I can apply to the secondary teacher certification program.  Or may I be taking them the semester in which I apply?

A: You may apply to enter teaching block I during the semester in which you are enrolled in ED-CIFS 201 and EDTECH 201.  Your approval will be conditional until your final grades confirm that you have completed the required courses and that you still meet the gpa requirements.  The staff will check these things at the end of the semester and if you have successfully completed the courses by then, they will place you in a school and allow you to begin block I.

Q: What if I register for the teaching blocks but I get CONDITIONAL registration?

A: If you register for the block co-requisite courses individually instead of all at once, the computer may not recognize your co-requisite courses.  So it is better to sign up for all of them at once.  Also, the Teacher Education office may not be able to confirm your school internship placement right away, resulting in a temporary COND status until your internship placement is set.  (Remember that a lot of plans can shift, both out in the schools–especially in years when hard budget decisions must be made– and on campus where some people change their majors or transfer, etc.).  The Teacher Ed office might even have been waiting to see whether you passed a required class or to confirm that everyone’s gpa meets requirements.  By the first week of the semester you should be emailed a permission number and/or your school placement.  If not, email the instructors to ask for permission numbers and briefly explain your situation.  For information about internship placements, contact Shannon McCormick in the Teacher Education Office, smccorm@boisestate.edu .

Q: What does “Professional Year Teaching Experience” mean?

A: Some College of Education materials refer to the “Professional Year.”  The “professional year” simply refers to the Block II semester together with Block III, which is the student teaching semester.  The phrase is intended to convey the idea that in the final year of college, students should intensify their preparation to enter the teaching profession, particularly by intensifying their internship experiences.  However, you might not necessarily take these blocks during a calendar year, especially if you student teach in the fall, and it is possible that Blocks II and III may not be consecutive if you take a semester between these blocks to complete other course work.  In addition, for all practical purposes, in secondary teaching the professional experience begins with Block I, so it’s really a professional year and a half if you do the blocks consecutively.

Q: How do I get placed for my Block I teaching experience?

A: The Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education will use your Application for Admission to Secondary Education Courses and Placements to locate a teaching placement for you.  If you have a preference for a particular teacher or school, or if you have circumstances that constrain your placement (like transportation problems), make a note on the form or attach a memo to it when you turn it in.

You may not get your placement preferences.  BSU always has a lot of students to place, and it is a big, complicated job to locate teachers who would like to work with an intern, in a school whose principal and other teachers would like to have our interns.  Be patient, and make the most out of wherever you land.

Q: Can I make my own placement?

A: No.  Never arrange your own student teaching placement.  It’s a very different situation if the university requests that you work in a particular school than if you do it yourself.  Teachers may not feel free to decline when you ask them yourself.  The principal wants to hear from only one official person at Boise State regarding all internship placements in his or her school, and you are not that person.  Also, Boise State may be making other requests for that school, and you have no way of knowing about those.  So make your requests through the Teacher Education Office.

Q: Can I be placed in the Professional Development School for English teaching?

A: In certain years, some English teaching interns will be selected for placement in a school with a more intensive working partnership with BSU’s English Education program.  The teaching internships in these schools are supervised by English Education faculty and may offer a broader variety of teaching experiences than traditional placements.  If you are interested, see Dr. Robbins, Dr. Fredricksen, or Dr. Wilhelm in the English Department.

Q: What if my cooperating teacher does not teach like I will?

A: They probably won’t.  But that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn a lot from them anyway, and learn what works for you as you work with that teacher’s students.  Remember, though, that the classroom is the teacher’s and not yours (yet), so make sure that the teaching approaches you take in this classroom will fit in with what the teacher is doing, even if you might not do it this way yourself.  Learn from it, even if it’s learning what doesn’t work.  Your time will come.

Q: May I take both Block I and Block II in the same semester?

A: Although blocks I and II require only 8 credits each, and conceivably a student could handle 16 credits in a semester, the block program assumes you should have internships of increasing intensity across three semesters.  Most students who have asked to double up on the blocks have not been allowed to do so.  However, if you think that your situation is exceptional, consult the Placement Director in the Teacher Education Office, 7th floor of the Education building.

Q: Are there standards in teacher education that I must meet?

A: Yes.  Just as there are state achievement standards for secondary school students, there are standards for new teachers to meet.  Some of these are broad, general principles that all teacher education students must meet, such as knowledge of adolescent development and understanding of pedagogical approaches like direct instruction or use of small groups.  In addition, there are standards specific to English teaching; for example, you must show that you can integrate writing and reading instruction, and that you understand how language changes over time and is socially embedded.  You will have opportunities to meet these standards in your course work and in your internships.

Q: A Teacher Work Sample is required for block II and block III.  What is a Teacher Work Sample?

A: One of the things that the standards require is that you show that you can use your knowledge of English and of teaching so that your teaching actually results in student learning.  During your block II and student teaching (block III) internships, you will plan instruction, teach it, collect the assessment results from your students and analyze them to see if they show what or how well your students have learned.  Assessment results are as likely to show you that something needs to be re-taught as that something was achieved, but either way, you must demonstrate that you know how to assess student knowledge and performance, and that you know how to consider the results as a “reflective practitioner” who can see what to do next.  So the “work sample” usually is a copy of your lesson plan, a short description of how the lesson went, samples of student work or assessment data, and your analysis (reflection) of the data including your observations of the students and what you think they learned–or didn’t–and why.

Q: I am a Graduate Assistant (Teaching Assistant) so I have to take a minimum of 9 credits per semester.  Can ED-TECH 202 count toward my 9 credits?  What about LING 407G?

A: Over half of the 9 credits must be graduate credits, but that leaves room for ED-TECH 202.  Courses with the letter G, even if they are 400-level courses, count as graduate credits.

Q: If I were to change from English teaching to a Masters degree program, would I need to fulfill all of the regular requirements for admission?

A: Yes.  Each program is separate so you would have to meet their different requirements.  However, if you have already paid the one-time university graduate college application fee, you would not need to pay any other application fees.

Student Teaching

During student teaching you will gradually take over all responsibilities for classroom instruction.  As you become well established, your cooperating teacher leaves the room and for 6-8 weeks you become the teacher, including all preparation, teaching, and grading for all of the teacher’s classes.  You will gradually phase into and then out of this full-time responsibility.  You will document some results of your teaching and your reflections about your teaching in a portfolio of work samples.  In the end, the cooperating teacher writes a letter of evaluation that becomes the centerpiece of your job application file.

Student teaching is a full-time commitment.  If possible, take no other courses during your student teaching semester, and take a hiatus from any jobs you might have.  Remember that your teaching career depends on getting an excellent letter of recommendation from your cooperating teacher.  Student teaching is not the place to cut corners.

Student Teaching Placements

The College of Education handles all aspects of student teaching, including placement (except for placement in the Professional Development School, which involves English Education faculty).  It is likely that you will continue to work with your block II teacher if conditions allow that.  If you need to change, see the Field Placement Director in the Teacher Education Office.  You may make specific placement requests, though there is no guarantee that your request can be granted.  Placements are also based on availability of cooperating teachers and administrative decisions.

Questions and Answers

Q: Should I do a single or dual option for student teaching?

A: Probably single, not dual option.  For purposes of certification or job application in secondary schools, the single option experience is sufficient even if you student teach in a high school and seek a junior high job or visa versa.  Dual option student teachers work in two placements, for approximately eight weeks in each setting.  Students who elect the dual option are usually those who desire teaching experience in two different school subjects and feel that they need teaching experience in both areas in order to be employable.  (English in combination with a modern language might be an example.)

Q: Can I student teach during the summer?

A: As a rule, no.  The student population in summer school is very abnormal; usually it is just the lowest achieving students who need to make up failed credits, and the highest achieving students who want to make more room in their school year schedule for extra electives.  Often the middle of the bell curve is missing, along with normal school culture of a school year.  This kind of student teaching experience could compromise your readiness to begin teaching in a normal school situation, and also it might appear to be a disadvantage to an administrator examining your job application in comparison to someone who has student taught during the regular school year.   Besides, in summer there aren’t as many classes in which students could be placed.  Another complication is that for students who need 16-week student teaching experiences, summer school is too short.

However, secondary school summer school programs do exist, and they usually offer some English classes, so a few student teaching placements could be made.  To be placed in summer school, students should have plenty of solid experience during the regular school year in their internship experiences, be strong teaching candidates who won’t be compromised by the atypical summer circumstances, and be able to present a compelling reason why they cannot student teach during the regular school year.  Requests to student teach during the summer should be made to the Director of Field Placements in the Office of Teacher Education.

Q: Who supervises me during student teaching?

A: The College of Education will assign a university supervisor to periodically observe and evaluate your teaching.  (If you are placed in the Professional Development School, your university supervisor will be an English Education faculty member.)  But your main supervisor is your mentor teacher.

Q: What are my requirements for student teaching?

A: Student teaching requirements and procedures are described in a handbook available from the Director of Field Placements in the College of Education and online at: http://education.boisestate.edu/handbooks.htm/

Q: Can I take a university course while I am student teaching?

A: Before student teaching, you should complete all of your course work so that you can concentrate your full energy and attention on successful student teaching performance.  However, if necessary, you can be allowed to take an evening course during student teaching as long as the course is not fundamental to your teaching success (like ENGL 301-501, 381-580, or 481-581).  Consider that your priority will be successful student teaching, which requires a great deal of time and energy.  You must be willing to put your course work after this, and the quality of your course work may be at risk.  If you must take a class, consult the instructor and work ahead if possible.

Q: How long does student teaching last?

A: You will student teach for the whole semester, 16 weeks.

Q: Do I need to pass the Praxis II test?

A: Yes.  Since spring 2003 the State Board of Education has required all those who request a teaching certificate in English to take the Praxis II English subject matter test, #0041.  It is a multiple-choice exam with questions about works of literature, writing and rhetoric, and language and linguistics.  The passing score is 159 or better.  If you do not pass the first time, you may re-take the exam but you will not have final approval to student teach until you have passed.    The test costs about $70.  Register online through the Educational Testing Service.

Q: Can I withdraw from student teaching?

A: Yes, if you decide to withdraw early enough.  As a professional courtesy, six weeks’ notice should be given to your mentor teacher and school prior to the beginning date of your student teaching assignment so that they know in plenty of time not to expect you.  Other withdrawals follow university guidelines, but are strongly discouraged because of the commitments that student teaching implies.

The Director of Field Placements also has the right to withdraw you from an internship setting if your professional performance is deemed a potential liability for yourself or others.  Procedures for non-voluntary withdrawal allow you a chance to tell your side of the story.

Applying for the Teaching Certificate

Finishing your student teaching does not end the certification process.  After completing student teaching you must fill out yet another application, and there is yet another fee.  This application, which you get from the Office of Teacher Education (7th floor of the Education building) and to whom you submit your completed application, directs the Office of Teacher Education to analyze your complete transcript to make sure that you have met the state certification requirements in English Teaching.  On this form you may also indicate any minor endorsements you believe you have earned.  Upon successful transcript analysis, the Office of Teacher Education forwards your application and materials to the Idaho State Department of Education certification office recommending you for a teaching license.  Assuming that the state department concurs with the analysis, you will be mailed your teaching certificate.

Anticipate that this process will take some time.  If you are applying for jobs immediately after completion of student teaching, get your application materials submitted promptly.  Then explain to interviewers that you are waiting for final certification.  They will understand.  If you need to begin teaching before your official certificate has arrived, you can request through the Department of Education a provisional certificate until your official certificate arrives.

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