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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Policies and Procedures for Student Seeking Placement in Public Schools

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Participation in a field experience brings with it a great responsibility to the P-12 students and schools at which you are placed. Due to the number of MSU, Mankato students that request field experience at public school sites each semester, it is essential that all students are aware of and comply with certain policies, procedures, and expectations. The following is an overview of these policies, procedures and expectations. Your instructor may provide additional information that is pertinent to your course requirements.

Placement Procedures 

Your course instructor has requested placement for your field experience. He/she has provided the information which will be used to determine the location of your placement, including but not limited to the following: type of field experience, hours requested, duration, request for specific site placement, content area/grade level preference. If you have special considerations, please advise your instructor to include them on the placement request form at the beginning of the term. Once placements have been made, we will honor the needs and availability of the staff of the school at which you are placed, and we will not make adjustments unless absolutely necessary. Students making placement arrangements for their own field experience is strictly prohibited. 

Please be aware that the Office of Field Experience places well over 1000 students for field experiences each semester. Placements are made at many sites outside of the Mankato area as well as within the Mankato Public School district to meet this demand for experiences. Please be patient during the placement process. Placements are arranged in a timely fashion, but consideration for school schedules is necessary. While the field experience is your top priority, it is not necessarily a priority for cooperating sites. 

Once placement arrangements have been confirmed, students will be provided with cooperating teacher contact information. At that time, students should make contact with the cooperating teacher as soon as possible. This can be done by phone, email, or in person. Don't wait until the end of the semester to make contact, as limitations in cooperating teacher schedules may prohibit fulfillment of required hours. 

It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements for travel to and from the placement site. Car pooling is encouraged, when possible. Occasionally, instructors arrange transportation.

Expectations for Field Experience Students 

If your course has a block placement where all students in your class are placed at the same school site, your instructor will schedule an initial orientation to the school for the group. Following that orientation, it is your responsibility to contact your cooperating teacher individually and maintain communication with him/her. If your field experience is not a block placement, you will be provided the contact information for your cooperating teacher. Your time in the classroom can be flexible if that fits best with your cooperating teacher's schedule. You must arrange to complete the number of required hours of in-class time. Be punctual at all times. Arrive at the school well before the class begins and stay at the school site until the cooperating teacher indicates your departure is appropriate. 

Do not expect your cooperating teacher to organize or facilitate your experience. You should be explicitly aware of the requirements and responsibilities for your course and communicate them effectively to your cooperating teacher. If an absence or deviation from the field placement schedule is necessary, it is your responsibility to advise the cooperating teacher and your course instructor of any absence. You will need to make arrangements to make up the time you miss, so that all required clinical hours are fulfilled. "No-shows" are unacceptable and may be cause for receiving a failing grade or no credit. 

Liability Insurance: There are some inherent professional liability risks to be placed within a field experience.  All students participating in a field experience in a P-12 setting must be covered by professional liability insurance.   

The simplest way to be covered for professional liability is via your student membership in Education Minnesota.  For each year you are a student member, your professional membership once you are a teacher will be discounted.   Visit to see details of student benefits. Submit a copy of member verification. 

Additionally, other options for professional liability insurance which would include:  Option 2):  Professional liability insurance from the Association of American Educators.  Visit to see details of student member benefits. Submit a copy of member verification.  Option 3: Some of your content specific professional organizations offer professional liability insurance.  Submit a copy of your current membership along with a copy of the liability insurance benefit statement from the organization.  Option 4:  If you are covered for professional liability in a school setting from another insurance provider, please provide a copy of insurance card and section of policy indicating your coverage. 

Background Checks: Background checks are required for any P-12 field experience.  For field experiences prior to admittance into professional education, this form will be distributed by the university faculty assigning the field experience.  It must be completed and submitted to your university faculty in order for the check to be run.  For admission to professional education and when you submit your application for student teaching, a national background check will be completed.  This is a more comprehensive background check and has a fee associated which you can charge to any major credit card.

Planning and Preparation for Teaching Experience 

Early in your field experience, you should establish specific times for teaching and develop a plan for review of your lessons with the cooperating teacher. The cooperating teacher must approve of your lesson plans prior to any instruction by you. You are expected to listen to, reflect upon, and incorporate suggestions made by the cooperating teacher. It is not acceptable to take a defensive stance or debate about pedagogical methods. Do not disrespect the cooperating teacher or disregard his/her input. Remember this is the cooperating teacher's classroom. 

Adequate preparation is essential. You must be thoroughly familiar with the assignments you are to carry out in the classroom and how you plan to do that. The development of your lesson plans and gathering of materials/resources takes place outside of the field experience hours in the classroom. Your cooperating teacher may provide assistance and support in this process, but should not be expected to utilize his/her entire preparation period for your readiness. You should accommodate the schedule of the cooperating teacher, not the other way around. 

You are the liaison between the cooperating teacher and the university professor or supervisor. It is your responsibility to contact the university professor or supervisor as to the best times for him/her to observe your teaching. If this time changes for any reason, contact the university supervisor immediately

Professional Relations with Staff and Students 

You leave the MSU campus as a student and enter the public school as a teacher. Your relationships with staff and students at your placement site must be at a professional level at all times. While at your school site, remember you are a role model for the students with which you will work, and a representative of the university and College of Education. In regard to your relationship with your students, remember you are their teacher, not their friend. If a situation arises that you do not know how to handle, seek the advice of your cooperating teacher. Use positive and professional "teacher" language at all times, including out-of-class sites such as the hallway, teacher's lounge, and parking lot. Model excellent formal speech patterns to assist student learning. Never use vulgar or inappropriate language toward or about students.

Professional Dress 

Young adult fashion diverges widely from acceptable professional attire in the public school classroom. MSU, Mankato students fulfilling field expereince requirements in public schools must adhere to the following guidelines, as determined by school dress codes and expectations for all public school staff. Public school staff members, i.e. cooperating teachers or school administrators, reserve the right to deny your teaching experience if you are dressed inappropriately. 


The neckline of all shirts and blouses should extend to the neck or just below the neck. No cleavage should be visible. All shirts must extend to the waist or below the waist (shirts and slacks should overlap) with no skin showing, even when bending over. Low riding slacks may pose challenges and expose skin inappropriately. Remember the classroom is an active place and you are often engaged in other activities where you need roomy, comfortable clothes. Dresses or skirts should reach the knee or extend below the knee. Spandex and form fitting clothes should be avoided. Undergarments should not be visible, including straps of any kind. Wear sensible shoes, and avoid the extreme pointed toes or high heels. Flip flops are unacceptable.


Slacks and shirts must be worn, and should be pressed. Khakis and cotton twills are acceptable; shirts may be collared pullovers or button up, and should be tucked in. Tee shirts should not be worn. Baggy pants are not acceptable. Hats should not be worn in the building. Shoes should be neat, and tennis shoes should be avoided, unless used in gym class or recess settings. Flip flops are unacceptable. 

For the Gym: Females and Males 

Sweat suits are acceptable, but they should not be the baggy, wide legged type, nor should they be the spandex form fitting type. Long shorts may be acceptable if that is what your cooperating teacher is wearing. No short shorts. All shirts in the gym must have sleeves and must extend to the neckline. No tank tops or other brief shirts.

Other Considerations 

Cell phones should be turned off and should not be used during class time. Use of classroom computers should be used for professional purposes only, and permission to use them must first be obtained by the school staff.

Field Experience Evaluation 

You will be evaluated on your experience, including the degree of success in the classroom as well as adherence to these policies and procedures. The course instructor will identify specific evaluation criteria and your cooperating teacher will be asked to provide input as well. If the cooperating teacher notifies the university supervisor that guidelines have been violated, you may be removed from the school and be asked to repeat the field experience at another location. Assistance plans will be facilitated for students who are at risk for not completing the clinical at a satisfactory standard.


It is our intent and desire to maintain positive relationships with our public school partners, while providing you with a meaningful experience. You play an important role in that success. There is great competition with other higher education institutions for field experience opportunities at public school sites. All students should consider the impact of their behavior on their own success as well as future placement potential and on-going relationships with cooperating teachers, administrators, school sites, and districts. 

The Office of Field Experience, in conjunction with your course instructor, will provide you with the assistance and support that will help you be successful in your experience. Do not hesitate to call on us before, during, or after your field experience. 

Best wishes!

Office of Field Experience Staff
Armstrong Hall 301I