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About the Elementary Internship

Across the internship year, course offerings and experiences in schools are designed to support interns in working to meet successfully a set of MSU Standards for Teacher Preparation that represent the knowledge, skills, commitments and dispositions that are needed to be an effective and responsible beginning teacher in today’s schools. In practical terms, this means interns – with ongoing support from their mentor teachers, field instructors and course instructors – will work to develop what we are calling “productive habits of practice.” These habits are ways of habitually thinking and acting that are consistent with the eight program standards:

  • Planning for instruction/teaching (resources, pacing, big picture, integration, assessment)
  • Making adaptations and accommodations for differences among students
  • Establishing and maintaining collaboration and communication
  • Building an inclusive learning community (management, equity, safety)
  • Promoting community/parent connections
  • Participating in ongoing inquiry
  • Engaging in portfolio development processes (professionalism, ongoing learning, reflection)


The support that is needed to develop these “productive habits of practice” will naturally vary according to the intern’s professional learning needs and his/her classroom situation, and it will also vary according to the time of year.


The year-long internship is organized in seven “phases” that represent different types of experiences and different types of support that will be needed to guide the intern’s professional learning across the year.

Guided Lead Teaching (in the Fall)

Phase One
(Weeks 1-7)
Learning about the Classroom, Children and Curriculum
Phase Two
(Weeks 8-14)
Guided Lead Teaching
Phase Three
(Weeks 15-17)
Looking Back and Planning for the Future

Guided Lead Teaching (in the Spring)

Phase Four: (Weeks 1 – 3)Preparation for Guided Lead Teaching
Phase Five (Weeks 4 – 6)Transition into Guided Lead Teaching
Phase Six (Weeks 7 – 12)Lead Teaching
Phase Seven (Weeks 13 – 17)Phasing Out

What the Internship IS and IS NOT

a year for learning to teach, with feedback.a year of ordeal; you will face the common ordeal of new teachers soon enough.
a year for protected and supported practice teaching.your first year of teaching. You will still do that–without support, probably.
a year for combining practice with time to think and analyze.a year to exhaust yourself teaching; that will come soon, and you will be paid then.
a year for working with others and learning from that.a year for teaching by yourself; you will be on your lonesome soon enough.
a year in which trouble is normal (because teaching is hard).a year in which you prove that you are a fabulous teacher; that’s not where we start.
a year to combine practice with formal study.a year when you start teaching and stop your professional learning.
a year to enhance your teaching practice by using what you have studied.a year for griping because you didn’t apply yourself in preceding years.