Director: Rebecca Richard (

Both Field Experience and Student Teaching are integral part of Pennsylvania (PA) teacher certification programs. 

Field Experience

A crucial element of the teacher education programs at Eastern University is the securing of high quality field experiences and the gaining of competencies needed to become successful teachers.  Field experiences are gained by participating in classrooms in a variety of ways which range from initial observations at Stage 1 and progressing to fully teaching students at Stage 4.  See stages below.  These experiences expand the prospective teacher's comprehension of effective classroom practices and assist students into converting theoretical constructs into practical teaching strategies and methods. All of these field experiences are tied into coursework where students converse with their professors and write papers that memorialize their understandings in writing.

Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are three stages of field experience competencies (Stages 1, 2, & 3) and one stage competency (Stage 4) for student teaching. Each stage is progressively more intensive and requires the candidate to assume gradually more responsibility and gain insight into the competency domains of planning and preparation, classroom environment, instructional delivery, professional conduct, assessment, and knowledge of diverse learners. 

Each student in the Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Science degree program is expected to have documented field hours in at least two of the following age bands:  

  • Birth to 3-years
  • 3 to 5-years
  • 5 to 8-years

Field Experience Stages 1 to 3

Stage 1: Observation 

Students in Stage 1 are primarily observers of a variety of education related settings appropriate to various field experience (mostly course related) assignments. The students will acquire observation skills and will apply knowledge of child development to actual observation of children. Students will observe the domains of planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. Students must complete “Stage 1 & 2 Field Experience Observation & Exploration Form.” Students are to present the teachers in the observed classrooms with information from the professor describing the goal(s) and objective(s) of the observation.

These Field Experience Observation hours are embedded throughout the education courses in your program of study.  Learn more about required field experience hours in designated courses.

Stage 2: Exploration

As the students move into Stage 2, the mentoring teacher, student, and director of field experience will determine the transition of the student from primarily an observing role to more direct involvement with children. The students in Stage 2 will acquire assessment skills, knowledge of child development and PA Academic Standards, skill in planning based on observations and standards, knowledge of child environments and ability to assess them, knowledge of community agencies and skill of advocacy, and interacting and communicating with parents. Students will present the teachers with the professor’s form outlining what is to be accomplished through this exploration. Students must complete “Stage 1 & 2 Field Experience Observation and Exploration Form.”

The student may work with individual students, conduct or teach small group activities in reading, math, and other subjects, and monitor classroom routines and procedures. The student will reflect on the following: information required for planning and preparation, elements of effective classroom management, strategies for instruction leading to student learning, behaviors and interactions reflecting PA Code of Professional Practice for Educators, identify various kinds of assessments, and gain knowledge of the characteristics and needs of diverse learners. 

These Field Experience Observation hours are embedded throughout the education courses in your program of study.  Learn more about required field experience hours in designated courses.

Stage 3: Pre-Student Teaching

As the student moves into Stage 3, the amount of time increases working directly with students individually, small groups, and whole group. The students in Stage 3 will acquire knowledge of content areas and standards related to them, knowledge of integrated curriculum, ability to plan, implement, assess and reflect on lessons and activities for students, ability to communicate effectively with children, peers, parents and supervisors. Teachers are included in activity planning with University faculty prior to the beginning of the pre-student teaching experience. Teachers complete student evaluation forms and provide feedback for future experiences. There will be an increase and demonstration of the student’s knowledge concerning the competencies of planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, assessment, professional responsibilities, and knowledge of diverse learners.  Mentor teachers must submit the “Stage 3 Evaluation Form.”

Student Teaching

Student teaching is required prior to receiving a Pennsylvania Instructional I certification.  Students fulfill this requirement either at the undergraduate or the graduate level by concurrently enrolling and successfully completing course requirements :Student Teaching and Seminar courses. Student Teaching and Seminar, combined, make up a full-semester load and are expected to devote a full-length semester to this professional hands-on experience.

Before being eligible for student teaching, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Successfully pass the Basic Skills Requirement
    NOTE: From the period of July 8th 2022 to July 8th 2025, The Pennsylvania Department of Education waived the requirement to complete the assessment of Basic Skills. 
  • Complete all certification course requirements. (Graduate students must have taken a minimum of two graduate level courses at Eastern prior to student teaching)
  • Maintain aGPA of 3.0.


  • All students must complete a formal application for student teaching a year prior to your student teaching semester.  This includes students who plan to complete student teaching via their current position/place of employmentStudent Teaching Application  

Send application questions to:
Becky Richard
Director of Student Teaching and Education Services Coordinator


All clearances (TB, Child Abuse, State Police and F.B.I) are only valid for one year from date of issue. Students are to keep the originals in their possession and submit copies of each. All clearances must be renewed annually by the student through the Castle Branch portal.

Downloadable Information:

Links To PA Clearance Information

All clearances (TB, Child Abuse, State Police and F.B.I) are valid one year from date of issue. Students are to submit copies of each clearance by the appropriate deadline in order to be assigned to a student teaching placement. All documents must be uploaded to Castle Branch.  

Deadlines for submitting all materials are firm.  Any materials received after the designated deadline will be processed at the discretion of the student teaching coordinators.

Student Teaching Abroad

Students who want to do half of their student teaching placement abroad please contact:
Becky Richard