Dr. Kandice Porter
Department of Health Promotion
and Physical Education
Kennesaw State University
Mail Drop 0202
520 Parliament Garden Way NW
Kennesaw, GA 30144-5593
|Field Experience Overview|
|KSU Handbook for Field Experiences (PDF)|
CT - Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to view the answer:
What is TOSS vs. Student Teaching?
TOSS (aka “a practicum”) is a 10 week experience in which a candidate reports to school 4 hours per week to observe and assist the collaborating teacher, as well as plan and teach a few lessons independently. A candidate must successfully complete a TOSS at the elementary and secondary level before qualifying to Student Teach. Student teaching is a 15 week appointment, 40 hours per week, during which the candidate assumes all responsibilities of the Collaborating Teacher.
What should I do if I want to become a collaborating teacher?
Make sure you inform your principal, and depending on your school system, your personnel department. Additionally, contact KSU field experience coordinator so that we know of your interest and can attempt to place a student at your school?
How are placements of candidates coordinated?
Placements are coordinated between HPE Department and KSU CEPP administrative offices. Candidates list schools they would like to work in, the HPE Department reviews those request, and then the CEPP seeks approval from the principal or human resource departments. We can never guarantee a candidate will get a school they requested, but do attempt to honor their requests when feasible.
Who approves the placement of a candidate in the school?
All placements must be formally approved by a school-based administrator. Additionally, some systems coordinate placements through personnel/HR, but still must receive principal’s approval.
I am a department chair that has been listed as the CT. Can I assign the candidate to work with another HPE teacher on my staff?
Yes, you can. Typically requests for placements at the High School go first to the HPE Department Chair, who can then determine the best fit for the candidate given scheduling logistics. Additionally, the department chair may not teach Health or BPE, in which case s/he would want to place the candidate with a teacher of those subjects. The department chair may also find that they are the best fit for the candidate, in which case they serve as the CT.
I never requested a candidate and/or nobody informed me that a candidate was to be placed in my school, so how is it I was assigned a candidate!?
Every placement has been approved by a principal. Unfortunately, there have been instances when a CT was not informed by their principal that a candidate has been assigned to work with them. We try to minimize this on our end by sending all CT’s an email we have received confirmation of the placement.
Can I deny a candidate once the placement has been approved?
This is an issue that must first be taken up with your principal and we request an immediate notice to the HPE field experience coordinator. We strongly discourage any attempt to deny a candidate a placement once that placement has been approved, as it potentially can prevent the candidate from fulfilling a graduation requirement on time. We would prefer to work with you in making the placement work, and that it be a beneficial experience for the candidate.
What are the qualifications to become a CT?
A CT must have 3 years of teaching experience and a willingness to share their experience and take part in the professional development of a future educator.
What should I expect of the candidate?
Nothing less than what you would expect of yourself of any teacher in your building, while still recognizing that these are apprentice teachers. They should be on time, always respectful, maintain a positive disposition, communicate clearly, and exhibit a desire and enthusiasm to learn and grow as a future teacher. If a candidate does not meet these expectations, express your concerns with their KSU supervisor who will intervene swiftly. Make sure to review the TOSS overview page for additional info.
What if the candidate’s schedule does not fit well with my teaching schedule?
Candidates typically are taking a full load of classes at KSU, and often have jobs. However, school must be their first priority while they are students, and that means they may have to adjust their work/personal schedules to fit your teaching schedule. There are instances, particularly at the HS, where a candidate many need to be placed with a different teacher to better accommodate schedules, but that must be approved by the school administrator and the KSU supervisor.
What are my responsibilities?
In a nut shell, you serve as a mentor that helps facilitate a positive experience for the candidate by encouraging and supporting their efforts, offering helpful advice and providing thoughtful feedback on their efforts. As a teacher, we hope this comes naturally. Beyond this, you do also provide formal feedback on the candidate’s performance based on your observations of the lesson(s) they plan and teach and their overall performance at the end of the term. Refer to the TOSS overview page for more information on those assessments.
Do I have to grade the candidate's performance?
Ultimately, the KSU Supervisor assigns the final grade based on their performance at your school AND the quality of the major projects that are completed during the field experience. Your feedback is primarily to support the candidate’s development as a teacher, but it is taken into account in determining their final grade for the experience. You would never have to shoulder the burden of feeling like you “failed” a candidate. Consistently low performance measures by a CT may likely lead to a failing grade, but that is a reflection of the candidates efforts, not a lack of effort/support from a CT.
Can candidates fail a field experience?
Yes. Consistently poor performance in the school setting and/or on projects assigned, lack of effort or improvement, failure to meet deadlines, an overall negative disposition or bad attitude toward the teaching/learning experience all can result in a failing grade. If a student fails a TOSS experience, they have one more opportunity to repeat and pass. If they fail a second TOSS they are removed from the teacher education program. In the rare event that a candidate was in jeopardy of failing student teaching, a decision is made at midterm to remediate or remove candidate from the school.
What if I have concerns about a candidate's ability to teach?
Notify your KSU supervisor immediately. In the event that a candidate acts inappropriately toward students, notify your principal as well.
Have candidates undergone background checks prior to arriving at school?
Yes. All candidates have completed background checks and maintain liability insurance as a requirement for any field placement.
Can my TOSS student return to my school to student teach?
Yes they can. Candidates ultimately must decide if they want to student teach at the elementary, middle, or high school level. It’s not uncommon for a candidate to request to return to a school that they previously completed their TOSS in, but various circumstances may not allow for the student teaching placement to be confirmed at a previous TOSS site. If you and the candidate want to increase the chances of working together again during student teaching, make sure you let your principal know.
What is the Impact on Student Learning Assignment (ISLA), or the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (Ed TPA)?
With increasing demands upon accountability for teacher quality, all teacher education candidates must complete a comprehensive project that details the entire teaching and learning process, including:
This is a major undertaking during all field experiences; therefore it is vital that the candidates coordinate the implementation of the lessons and assessments with the CT well in advance, thus allowing them time to complete the written assignment by deadline. While KSU candidates have completed the ISLA up to this point, we are now piloting a new, yet very similar assessment known as the Ed TPA that is being mandated by the state for teacher certification.