This is a field placement survival guide written by an education majors for education majors.

Field experiences are your first taste of what it is like to be a teacher in a classroom. It is nerve-wracking because you’re in front of the students for the first time. To make things worse, you have a supervisor to evaluate you which can be really scary (it was for me!).

I have a confession to make. I used to be the worst field student ever. My supervisor questioned if I had what it took to be a teacher. I ended up making some changes to my fieldwork approach that made me a much better teacher. I want you to learn from my mistakes as well as my successes; here is my field work survival guide.

Organizing your binder


The one thing that made my supervisor wonder if I could be a teacher was the fact that I had the most disorganized binder ever. I could not find the assignments, some of the assignments were left at home, and everything was in an order that did not make any sense to me. So naturally my binder was a mess.

What to include in your binder

It is absolutely crucial to keep your binder in labeled sections.

What not to put in your binder

I saved the nametags and goodbye cards from the previous placement and kept them in my binder. This was a huge mistake. I learned that whatever you keep in your binder should ONLY be things related to the field experience.

Important things NOT to lose

Here are some things I lost you should never lose at a field experience: your sign in sheet, your assignments and your checklist.
Also, I did not do this, but whatever you do do not lose your clearances. They are very important.

Field experience assignments

Do them early. Just do them early.

Communicating with your supervisor

Whenever anything important changes such as a field trip, cancellation or any other schedule change, let your supervisor know. Also, let your supervisor know when you are teaching a lesson.

What not to do in the school

Whatever you do, do not be late. Arrive early!

If you are taking the bus to placement, do not wait to try getting to placement on the day first day it starts – practice your route ahead of time.

Do not sit in the back doing nothing but watching students. Always show initiative to interact with the students. I learned your cooperating teacher and supervisor will love it if you do. Remember, they can write you letters of recommendation.

Do not forget to communicate with your cooperating teacher.

Accepting feedback

I am really bad at receiving constructive criticism. I take it too personally.

Here is something I wish I could tell younger me: remember, you are still learning to be a teacher. This constructive criticism is telling you what you can do to be the best teacher you can be. You’re not perfect. You’re learning. Your cooperating teacher and supervisor are telling you what you need to know to be the best teacher you can be.

Tips from the actor

Because I often appear scatterbrained at first, I learned to look professional. I am an actor after all, and here is an acting trick I learned to use when meeting with one intimidating supervisor. Play the calm businessman in a zen-like state. You will look more confident than you really are.

It worked for me.