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Undergraduate majors

Information For Undergraduate English Teaching Majors

This page is for those who are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching.  This degree meets requirements for teaching certification for grades 6-12 in Idaho.


  • Course Schedule Planning Tips (Requirements check sheets, four-year plans and worksheets,Suggested Timeline, Catalog selection.)
  • Required English Courses (Notes on ENGL 198, 275, 301-481, 381, LING 305)
  • English Electives (Advice on course selections)
  • Electives Outside of English (Advice on Comprehensive Literacy course, planning, Q & A on lit requirements, Independent Study)
  • Applying for Graduation
  • Education Courses (Information about the teaching “blocks” including Block I and II internships, Q&A on admissions, conditional registration, placements, taking the blocks simultaneously, and standards)
  • Student Teaching (Information on placements, registration, applying for the certificate, Q&A on the Praxis II, length of student teaching, student teaching requirements, single or dual option, supervision, summer student teaching, taking other courses during student teaching, withdrawal from student teaching.)
  • Extra-curricular Activities

Course Schedule Planning Tips

You can use a Requirements Check Sheet to record the courses that you have taken and to easily see which courses you have left to take. 

The Undergraduate Advising page for the English Department includes a checksheet with a list of course requirements, as well as a flow chart that lays out possible course schedules for each semester. The link for students in English Teaching program includes checksheets and flow charts for both the Core Curriculum (for students entering BSU prior to 2012-2013) and the Foundational Studies Program (for students entering BSU during 2012-2013 or later).

The checksheets and four-year plans and flow charts highlight the courses you might want to take during each of your semesters, including the semesters before you apply to the Teacher Education prgoram to officially enter the English Education program.

The English Education program is one of several programs within the Teacher Education program (e.g., Math Education, Social Studies Education, Physical Education, Elementary Education, etc.). As an English Education student you will need to apply to the Teacher Education program before you can officially be a part of the program. The Teacher Education program will coordinate your placements in local school districts during your “3 Blocks,” which refers to the three final semesters of your undergraduate experience. The logic of the program is that early in your psrogram you develop your subject matter expertise and later in your program you begin to do the work of what it means to help others learn to read, write, use language, research and more.

Working backwards, your final semester is when you will student teach full time. This is referred to as “Block 3″ within the Teacher Education Program.

The semester before you student teach is referred to as “Block 2″ withing the Teacher Education program. The hope is that where you are placed for Block 2 is where you will be placed during Block 3 so that you have a lot of experience working with the same mentor teacher, students, and school context. You will have to pass the Praxis 2 test for English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (#5038) before you can student teach.

The semester before “Block 2″ is referred to as “Block 1.” In order to enter Block 1, you have to follow the Application Process. You’ll notice that this application requires a few things, including a letter, a resume, some references, unofficial transcripts, an interview with faculty, and scores for the Praxis 1 Writing Test.

Because the application for Block 1 is due early in the semester before you want to begin Block 1 (e.g., early February for starting Block 1 in the Fall; early September for starting Block 1 in the Spring), this means that you have to take and pass the Praxis 1 Writing test two semesters before you want to begin Block 1.

Boise State’s University Testing Services now offers the Praxis Exams so you can take those tests there or at other test sites that you can find when you look at the Praxis website.

Second semester of Sophomore Year:

  • Take the Praxis 1 Writing Test Test 0720 is the paper version of the test. Test 5720 is the computer version of the test. You can take either one.

First semester of Junior Year:

(Block 1) Second semester of Junior Year:

  • Take together ENGL 301 Teaching Comp and ENGL 481 Lit for Jr. Sr. High.
  • Take Block I courses, including block I school internship (8 credits).

(Block 2) First Semester of Senior Year:

(Block 3) Second Semester of Senior Year:

  • Do Block III, which is Student Teaching–a fulltime commitment.

When you register, and when you apply to graduate, you will tell the Registrar which catalog year requirements you are following.  Eventually, graduation clerks will compare your transcript to the requirements of that catalog.  You may choose any catalog from the past seven years, as long as you were a student during that academic year.  Requirements sometimes change from year to year, so choose one catalog’s set of requirements and follow those consistently.

Required English Courses

ENGL 198 INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH STUDIES (1 credit).  This course is required of students who follow graduation requirements in the 2007-2008 catalog or later.  (Students who entered before this time and follow an earlier catalog need not take this course, though you may consider taking it as an elective.)  The one-a-week course is an overview of the sub-disciplines that much up English (literature, writing, linguistics, teaching, technical communications) and English programs available to students, like working in the Writing Center, and advice about graduate school and job opportunities for English majors.  The course should be especially helpful to those who are still uncertain about career or post-graduation plans, and also to prospective teachers of English who will teach all of the areas of English.

ENGL 275 INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY STUDIES should be taken soon after you have completed ENGL 102.  It is an introduction to scholarly ways of reading and writing about literature, which should prepare you for your junior and senior-level literature courses.  ENGL 275 is a prerequisite for all upper-division literature courses.

LING 305 INTRODUCTION TO LANGUAGE STUDIES should be taken as soon as possible since it is a prerequisite for other linguistics courses.  Students who put off LI 305 may face scheduling problems later as they try to work further linguistics courses around internships and student teaching schedules.  You may enroll in LI 305 anytime after you have completed E 102.  LING 305 fills up quickly, partly due to ongoing staffing problems.  If you don’t get into this course the first semester you try, keep trying in subsequent semesters until you get in.

ENGL 301 TEACHING ENGLISH COMPOSITION.  This course is about how to teach writing, especially to adolescents.  This course is taught in a combined time period 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.  Take this course AFTER you have taken your two advanced writing courses, preferably the semester before or during your teaching Block I.  It must be taken BEFORE you enter Block II.

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 approaches and techniques for teaching literature in secondary school English.  This course is taught in a combined time period with ENGL 301.  You will take both courses together so that the teaching of writing and the teaching of literature can be integrated.  Take this course AFTER you have taken several literature courses, preferably the semester before or during your teaching Block I.  It must be taken BEFORE you enter Block II.

We strongly recommend that you take at least your two 200+ writing courses and more than two or three literature courses before you enter ENGL 301 and 481 so that you are more ready to think about how to teach these subjects. If you are on a regular 4-year plan, we recommend that you do not take 301 and 481 until your second junior semester. The idea is for you to take as many writing and lit courses as you can before you get deeply into how to teach them.

ENGL 381 ENGLISH TEACHING is taken during the teaching Block II.  It is the main “how to teach secondary school English” teaching methods course.  In this course you will construct a unit plan containing lesson plans. Take this course at the same time you take ED-CIFS 401 (block II) and ED-LTCY 444 Content Literacy, after you have completed block I, and also after you have completed ENGL 301 Teaching Comp and ENGL 481 Lit for Jr/Sr High.


You will need to apply to gain entrance into the “teaching blocks” of the College of Education, as explained further down this web page.  But there is no additional application process in English Education.

English Electives

Electives are your opportunity to explore new knowledge and control your own education.  For help with these decisions, talk with your academic advisor.  Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Take some American literature and some British literature at upper-division (300 or 400) levels. The state requires at least one British literature and one American literature course, though more of both would be desirable.  These may be survey courses (such as ENGL 267 Survey of British Literature to 1790) or upper-division courses (such as ENGL 345 Shakespeare: Tragedies and Histories, or ENGL 359 British Novel: Beginnings Through Austen).
  • Take literature courses from a range of time periods and genres.  Don’t let your knowledge of literature be too narrow.
  • Take some course work in multicultural or world literatures.
  • Take courses in a range of different kinds of writing, and try to become the most skillful and knowledgeable writer you can be.
  • Consider taking a Shakespeare course (ENGL 345 or ENGL 346).  If you teach secondary school English, you will probably teach some Shakespeare.
  • LING 406 Psycholinguistics offers many connections to the teaching of English.  It also counts toward a minor endorsement in Reading.
  • LING 309 History of the English Language can be useful to teachers for a historical perspective on language dynamics and change.
  • You are NOT required to take ENGL 498 Senior Seminar, but you may take it as an elective.

Electives Outside of English

Course work in academic minor fields that are related to English (such as theatre, reading, speech, journalism, or history) can be a useful enhancement of knowledge and teaching preparation.

Teacher education courses will count toward the total number of required 128 university credits.

Credits earned toward an academic minor or a minor teaching certificate are considered electives.

English and linguistics courses that you take beyond the courses you use to meet English degree requirements may be used to meet university electives.

ED-LTCY 340 COMPREHENSIVE LITERACY.  If you plan to teach English language arts and/or reading at the middle level (grades 6-8), as soon as you have begun to teach you MUST take the state required Idaho Comprehensive Literacy course, or at least to take and pass the exam.  (Unfortunately, so far the focus of this course is only on early literacy at primary levels, but we hope the course will eventually become more “comprehensive.”)  If you know that this is the grade level for you, we advise you to take this course now if you have room in your schedule.


Q: Must I take both British and American literature courses before I take ENGL 481 Literature for Jr/Sr High?

A: No, though it would be desirable.  In order to take ENGL 481 you only have to have had two lit courses, although we strongly advise students to take lots more than two, and these do not have to be specifically British or American literature courses.  The British and American literature requirement must be met by the time you graduate and when you apply for your teaching certificate after student teaching, since it is both a graduation and state teaching requirement.

Q: What if I want to enroll for an Independent Study?

A: The idea of independent studies is to arrange for you to study something that is individual to your interests (and not to other students) and that we do not already offer as a class.  An example might be that you have taken, say, a class in American Renaissance literature and now want to read everything that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, or that you want to explore the connections between the British and American Romantics.  Once you think you know what you want to learn more about that we don’t have a class for, you go to an instructor whose area of expertise is closest to your interest and ask them.  They may say no; every teacher is busy and this is extra work for no pay for them.  So if your first request doesn’t go, modify it and ask someone else.

When you go to meet a professor to ask them, be ready to propose your project or study area–say what you want to learn about, and why.  If the professor agrees to work with you, then you and the instructor map out a plan that would include major tasks like readings, activities, assignments, due dates, and also plans for regular updates so that the project stays on track.  You can find the registration form on the Registrar’s web site.  Take it to your appointment with the professor so you and the professor can fill it out and sign it.  Together you write on the form a brief version of your plan, which creates an informal contract between you.  Submit the form in the Registrar’s Office to enroll for the credit.  (This cannot be done online.)

Q: May I take a writing course that is not offered by the English department to count toward the requirement of 2 writing courses 200-level or higher?

A: Yes, you may take courses like new writing or playwriting that are offered by other departments and use them for this requirement.  Just fill out and submit an Academic Adjustment form for each course so that the graduation clerks see that you have permission to use a non-English writing course toward your graduation requirements.

Applying for Graduation

Graduation is not automatic; you must apply. When you get within one semester of graduation, apply for graduation by logging into your Broncoweb account, in your “Student Center” click on “My Academics,” then click on “Graduation/Apply for Graduation.”  The online application form will appear, along with instructions.  Broncoweb automatically fills in information you have given it before, like your major and the catalog year you are using.  If you need to change these, you may need to go to the Registrar’s Office for help.

Be prepared to pay a processing fee, either online with a credit card or in person within 48 hours of submitting your application.  After you have applied for graduation, be prepared to wait for the human graduation evaluators to compare your transcript to the requirements in the catalog that you have selected to follow.  They will send you their results, including a list of courses that they think you need in order to complete graduation requirements.  Compare their results to your own understanding of what you have left to take.  If there are discrepancies, see your academic advisor.

Remember that YOU are responsible for knowing and meeting your graduation requirements.  If your advisor makes a mistake on a rule that you could have known, the university will not waive the rule for you.

Education Courses


In order to take the required upper-division Education courses that are the “teaching blocks,” you must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program.  On a four-year plan, you apply near the beginning of your first semester as a junior and begin the “teaching blocks” the second semester of your junior year.  To be admitted do these things:

  • 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 201 and 202.)  Your instructor will be interested not only in your academic performance, but also whether you have the attitudes, values, communication style, and other dispositions that will suit you to teaching.  (ED-CIFS 201 is a Core course in Area II.)
  • Take and pass EDUC 202 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY with a C or higher.  (You need to earn a 3.0 g.p.a. in education courses 201 and 202.)
  • Take and pass the Praxis I Writing test. Earn a score of 172 or higher.  Take this test as soon as possible, preferably in your freshman or sophomore year.  It’s 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.  Contact ProMetric Testing Center in Meridian at or 373-1815.  Plan on 4-6 weeks for scoring.  English majors do not need to take the math or reading Praxis exams.
  • Earn a g.p.a. of at least 2.5 overall, 2.75 in all English courses, 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.  It’s also available online at: .  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.

* To calculate your gpa:

Beginning on the left, make a column listing all of your courses in the selected category (like all your English & Linguistics courses).  To the right, list the number of credits of each course.  To the right of that (3rd column), list your grades.  To the right of all that add a fourth column in which you convert letter grades to numbers (A=4.0; A-=3.67; B+=3.33; B=3.0 and so on).  Finally, make a fifth column in which you simply multiply the number of credits times the gpa number (or column 2 x column 4).  So for a 3-credit class in which you got a B, your last column number would be 9 (3×3).  When you get that listing stuff done, then simply use a calculator to total the fifth column, and also total the second column for number of credits.  Then divide the total gpa number in the fifth column by the total credits number (2nd column) and you have your gpa in that category.  It sounds complicated but I think you’ll find it quite easy when you do it.

If you are lucky enough to have all classes worth the same number of credits, you can take a short-cut by simply counting the number of classes and multiplying by the number of credits for the classes (like if you have ten 3-credit classes, 10×3=30 credits).  That saves you writing out column 2.

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:


Block I is intended to be taken the second semester of your junior year, assuming you are on a four-year graduation schedule.  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.)
  • (Also take ENGL 301 and 481)

For the teaching experience internships 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.)  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.

For the Block I internship you will work in the school for a minimum of 50 hours, which is about 4 hours per week.  Some of your time spent at home preparing 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 is intended to be taken the first semester of your senior year, the semester after Block I.  For Block II, take these courses at the same time:

  • ED-CIFS 401-Professional Year–TEACHING EXPERIENCE II (2 credit internship-probably in the same school as block I, but mostly teaching.)
  • 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 for a minimum of 100 hours, which is about 8 hours per week.  (Most people spend much more than the minimum time; 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 put you in a teaching role.  By the end of the semester you should regularly be planning and teaching lessons.  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.

During Block II you need to take the Praxis II Exam for English subject matter, test 0041, and score at least 158.  You may not begin student teaching until the Office of Teacher Education has received your passing Praxis II score, so take the exam at least six weeks before student teaching.  For information about the exam, see the Educational Testing Service website:

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, .

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, as you should.

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

A: The Director 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 Field Placement Director.

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

A: During 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 selected schools (or with selected mentor teachers) 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 Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education, 7th floor.

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: 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: What if I have to sit out a semester and not do my teaching blocks in sequential semesters?

A: Notify the Director of Teacher Education in the  College of Education.  First, let the Director or a staff person know as soon as you do that you must temporarily step out of the sequence.  Do this so that they know not to be making a placement for you for the next semester.  Second, when you intend to get back into the blocks and will need a school placement for the next semester, again you must notify the Teacher Education Office so that they know to find a placement for you.

Q: What if I want to change my major or emphasis and drop out of the teaching blocks?

A:  Notify the Field Placement Director in the Teacher Education Office, College of Education.  Also let you academic advisor know.  Changing majors is normal in college and no one will be mad at you, but let us know as soon as possible so that we don’t have a mentor teacher who is wondering where you are.

Student Teaching

During student teaching you will gradually take over all responsibilities for classroom instruction.  As you become well established, your mentor teacher leaves the room and for several weeks you become the teacher, including preparation, teaching, and grading for all of the teacher’s classes.  You will put together a portfolio of work samples that show some results of your teaching along with your ability to be a reflective practitioner.  In the end, the mentor 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.


The Office of Teacher Education handles all official aspects of student teaching, including placement.  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 Director of Field Placements.  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.


Block III is intended to be taken the second semester of your senior year, 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:

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


  • ED-CIFS 485 Professional Year – Teaching Experience III (high school–16 credits)

(Block IV)

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.  Most English Teaching Majors do not do Block IV.  Successful student teaching in junior high or middle school will qualify you to apply for high school English teaching jobs, and visa versa.


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.

Questions and Answers about Student Teaching

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

A: Yes.  As of spring 2003, the State Board of Education requires 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 158 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 at the Educational Testing Service web site.  Take the test early during your block II semester so that there is time to get them back to BSU.  (Allow about six weeks.)  YOU MAY NOT BEGIN STUDENT TEACHING UNTIL THE UNIVERSITY RECEIVES YOUR PASSING PRAXIS II SCORE.

Q: How long does student teaching last?

A: 16 weeks.  You must student-teach at least during the weeks that BSU classes are in session, including finals week.  However, schools may begin or end before or after the university semester.  During these gap times, we encourage students to consider working in the schools as this can provide great additional experiences.  This extra work, however, is encouraged but not required.

Q: What are my requirements for student teaching?

A: Student teaching requirements and procedures are described in a handbook available online at:

Q: 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: 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: Who supervises me during student teaching?

A: The College of Education will assign a university supervisor to periodically observe and evaluate your teaching.  (English Education faculty supervise in the language arts “professional development school” sites or projects.)  But your main supervisor is your mentor teacher.

Q: Can I student teach during the summer?

A: As a rule, no.  The student population in summer school is very abnormal; usually it consists of 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 it might also 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 you could be placed.  Another complication is that for student teachers who need 16-week student teaching experiences, summer school may be 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 College of Education.

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.  So we advise you NOT to take a course while student teaching.  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 (as ENGL 301, 381, and 481 are).  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: 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 Teacher Education 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.

Extra-curricular Activities

School principals and personnel directors do not look exclusively at grades when they hire teachers.  The activities that prospective teachers have been involved with may show extra expertise and a well-roundedness often valued in hiring.  For more information regarding the many opportunities for extra-curricular activities at Boise State, check at the Student Activities desk in the Student Union Building.

When schools hire teachers, they often look for people who can supervise extra-curricular activities as well as teach classes.  Consider getting involved in activities that interest you.  Obvious choices include student government, drama, debate, or music performance, but there are also school clubs for such things as chess, skiing, or rodeo.  If you can coach a sport, your versatility may look more valuable in the job market.  Being a player in the sport is good, but if coaching appeals to you, consider earning the Coaching Endorsement offered by the Department of Kinesiology.

English Majors Association/Sigma Tau Delta

The EMA is open to any English major and offers opportunities for students to develop valuable leadership skills and service experiences.  Sigma Tau Delta is the English majors’ honorary.  Membership is extended to students who have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.33 for undergraduates of at least junior standing, and 3.5 for graduate students.  The two groups work together on projects and trips.

Working with adolescents

Obviously, work with adolescents will be useful experience for you and look good on your resume.  This work might include being a camp counselor, swimming instructor, coach, Big Brother-Big Sister, summer recreation counselor, church youth group supervisor or Sunday school teacher, drama clubs, and so on.

Publishing some of your writing

Publishing your writing in the Arbiter or other publications suggests that you are practicing the skills you will teach.

Related Work Experience

Working in a setting where your writing, reading, communication, or interpersonal skills are used can be not only a good way to develop those skills further, but also a way to enhance your resume.