Overview of Internship Phases

Internship Participants and Responsibilities

TE 501/2 Seminars

TE 801-4 Course Work

The Math & Language Arts Practicum

Portfolio Processes

Assessment of Intern Progress

Planning Expectations

Grading Policy for TE 501/2

Professional Conduct Policy

Substitute Teaching Policy


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Team Leader: 
Dr. Cheryl Rosaen
Philippa Webb

Program Secretary: 
LaShon Brown

Cluster Leader: 
Sally Labadie
Cluster Leader: 
Judy Oesterle

Teacher Preparation Team 2
The Internship: TE 801-4 Course Work

The course work associated with the internship serves two important purposes that are critical to meeting the Professional Teaching Standards: connecting study with practice; and constructing reasoned positions on a range of issues.

Connecting study with practice.  By the time the internship begins, interns and their instructors have invested a good deal of time and effort in studying the options for managing classrooms and motivating students; for accommodating diversity; and for planning, teaching and assessing in language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. As yet, however, interns have had only modest opportunities to practice those options or to connect their studies to classroom situations and teacher actions, particularly in a situation that allows them to see their actions unfold across a school year. If interns do not get that practice and achieve those connections, much of their prior learning may be overwhelmed by the immediate demands of daily classroom life.

The year-long internship enables novices to:

  • go beyond the introductions to the teaching of literacy, mathematics, social studies and science that they experienced in TE 401 and 402

  • help them to connect earlier studies with their actions as teachers, so that they more likely can continue to draw on those studies over a period of years in teaching

  • build upon their introductory-level knowledge to help them develop skill and proficiency in applying new knowledge in context-specific situations--at this grade level, in this school, in this district.

Combining guided practice and continuing coursework in the intern year provides a reasonable opportunity to make such connections. 

Getting clear about issues.  As interns begin the intern year, the volume and the intensity of their experience in the position of teacher rises very rapidly.  In a far more intense and practical way than they could have done at any time before the internship, interns begin to recognize more of the full range of responsibilities of a teacher.  They begin to see more clearly that important issues are at stake and sometimes are debated in schooling.  They begin to discover that they must be able to give good reasons for what they do, and that "I prefer," "I believe," and "my style" are not good enough reasons for a teacher's actions.

If they are to cope and to grow in their first years of teaching, they must begin now informing themselves about, and constructing several informed and reasoned positions on, a number of issues in teaching.  For example:

  • When they decide how to treat a portion of the published curriculum, choose or make instructional materials, make or choose assessments, host parents at back-to-school nights, or discuss the curriculum with colleagues, they will need clear, well-developed stances about what is important to learn and to teach in literacy, science, social studies, math, etc.

  • When they design activities, plan lessons, implement those lessons in the class, administer tests and other assessments, or explain their practice to parents or administrators, they will need a thoughtful stance about how children learn worthwhile school subjects and how adults help them to do that.

  • When a parent makes a proposal or demand regarding the education of a child, they will need to have clearly thought out their roles and responsibilities for each child's education--whether they are responding simply as a stand-in for the parent, or as an employee of the school, or whether they might have some independent guardianship responsibility with separate and distinct duties.  This is not an easy question; it is an important one.

  • When they make rules, administer discipline, assign grades, compose student groups, decide whether to persist with a topic or move on to another topic, or decide how to allocate their time among students, they will need a clear, informed, and well-reasoned position about educational opportunity, fairness, or justice.

  • When in future years they are evaluated by principals, they should be informed about the various approaches to evaluating teachers and their relative contributions to the teacher's growth.  

  • When they are asked (or told) to attend professional development activities, they should know the characteristics of useful professional development activity, so that they can make informed choices and remedy the defects of activities that they do attend.

Combining practice work and courses. An internship is not merely full-time teaching with courses piled on top.  An internship is a complementary set of experiences that include guided practice, advanced study, and reflection and writing about classroom experiences. The course instructors make every effort to create assignments that connect closely with interns' ongoing classroom teaching and assessment practices.  Therefore, interns who take assignments seriously as opportunities to learn in and from their practice are more likely find course assignments to be meaningful, and to understand why it is important to find time in a crowded schedule to work steadily on those assignments. 

Just as course instructors need to be flexible about their course requirements, CTs need to be sensitive to the ebb and flow of each semester, and be flexible about demands on interns' time when course work requires their attention.  Collaborating teachers are in a unique position to help interns to make essential connections between their course work and practice work by talking with them about the course work and looking for opportunities to make those connections.  If the intern is having trouble seeing or making connections, that could be a signal that either the field instructor or course instructor may need to provide additional support for the intern, and the CT can play a key role in helping them understand that need.

How the courses are organized.  The approved design of the program allocates to each 800-level course 30 hours of course time when interns meet with course instructors on campus (according to the Team Two calendar), plus an average of 3 hours per week (per course) for field work that is complementary to the interns' classroom-based work (either within the classroom, the school, or in the community).  Instructors provide suggestions for the use of the "field time" to interns, CTs and field instructors, who then work together to develop meaningful uses of that time.   In response to the various "phases" of the internship, 800-level course instructors make very large adjustments, squeezing their courses into 10 three-hour meetings that make room for three consecutive weeks of full-time participation in schools in the fall and eight consecutive weeks in the spring.  Just as instructors are sensitive to increased demands on interns' time during certain weeks of each semester, so too must CTs be sensitive to demands on interns' time to complete required projects, discussions and presentations.  Ongoing study and reflection is an essential part of a year-long internship.

Grading for TE 801 through TE 804.  TE 801 through TE 804 are graded on the 0.0 to 4.0 scale.  In accordance with the academic standards of the University, students at the Lifelong Graduate or Graduate level must receive at least a 2.0 to be awarded credit in TE 801, TE 802, TE 803, and TE 804. Also, teacher candidates must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 to remain in good standing.  Because TE 801 is a prerequisite for TE 803, and TE 802 is a prerequisite for TE 804, interns who receive below a 2.0 in either prerequisite will have to retake that course before proceeding further in the internship. All of these courses are necessary to be recommended for certification; those who receive below a 2.0 in any of these courses will not be recommended for certification.

The dangers of incompletes.  Because TE 801 and 802 are prerequisites to the spring semester courses, grades of Incomplete for TE 801 or TE 802 must be finished before the beginning of the following semester; an intern with an unresolved Incomplete grade will not be allowed to continue in the internship.  It is best to avoid incompletes entirely.



College of Education | MSU | Department of Teacher Education | Team 2 |