The field instructor plays a key support role in helping the intern develop standards-based practices in planning, teaching and assessment, and in becoming a fully participating member of the teaching profession. In addition, the field instructor supports the mentor teacher in problem solving and providing effective mentoring practices. The field instructor also works with the cluster leader, program coordinator and team leader to understand and communicate current program practices and policies, and is available to pass along information provided by course instructors about planning and other course requirements.
Planning and communication
- Maintain regular contact with each mentor teacher and teacher education liaison (TEL) in order to get a full picture of the intern’s progress, to identify problems, and to help the mentor teacher to play an active role in supporting the intern.
- Conduct a group meeting with the mentor teachers in each school every 2-3 weeks to discuss issues that arise during the internship and to support innovative and educative mentoring practices and problem solving.
- Meet with each intern on a regular basis to share resources, assist with planning, observe, provide written feedback, discuss teaching experiences, and work on other aspects of teaching and learning to teach. Involve mentor teachers in these activities whenever possible and desirable. Regular contact with interns will average about 2 hours per week, but time allocated within a given week may vary according to the time of year.
- Provide assistance to course instructors in communicating about interns’ progress and problems, and helping interns and MTs understand course requirements. Encourage direct communication among course instructors, interns and MTs whenever appropriate.
- Work with course instructors and Elementary Teacher Preparation Program representatives to plan meetings for mentor teachers during the year. Attend those meetings when your interns are involved.
- Attend field instructor meetings to discuss issues related to supporting interns’ professional growth and to facilitate communication between the university and the schools.
- Respond to e-mail communication from the intern, MT, or other program personnel in a timely manner.
Supporting intern learning
- Conduct a bi-weekly 60-90 minute interactive group meeting (TE 501-502 seminars) of the interns with whom you work, that helps the interns to reflect upon their current experiences and plan for their ongoing professional learning. In the seminars, discuss topics outlined in the TE 501/2 syllabus and other topics that are suggested during field instructor meetings.
- Help the mentor teacher to plan and play an active role in supporting and evaluating the intern.
- Assist the mentor teacher in developing learning-to-teach activities for the intern.
- Observe the intern regularly and conduct follow-up conferences with the intern regarding the planning and teaching of each observed lesson. Provide written and oral feedback. Regular contact should average about 2 hours per week, although the amount of time spent may vary by time of year.
- Convene joint conferences (intern, mentor teacher, and field instructor) at least five times during the academic year:
- an initial conference during August or September, to confirm responsibilities, negotiate working relations, and plan the intern’s learning;
- a mid-semester evaluation and planning conference in Fall;
- an end of semester evaluation conference in December;
- a mid- semester evaluation and planning conference in Spring, and
- a final evaluation conference in April.
- Prepare materials for the second, third, and fourth joint conferences and write a Final Report on each intern you support at the end of the academic year.
- Help interns to develop their portfolios, including giving feedback on materials to be included and providing assistance with videotaping, if needed.