Fieldwork Requirements and Expectations

GSE's Teacher Education Programs involve a series of fieldwork and student teaching (Practicum) experiences. Familiarize yourself with the information below to make the most of them.

NYSED and GSE Requirements |Professional Knowledge and Dispositions|Getting Connected|Fieldwork Log|Student Teaching| Professional Behavior|Final Thoughts About Field Experience

NYSED and GSE Requirements

The New York State Education Department mandates that students seeking their first teaching certification have a minimum 100 hours of field experience linked to coursework before student teaching. This applies to all of Binghamton's pre-service programs. Students will visit high-needs classrooms and schools in urban, suburban and rural districts during their field experiences and/or student teaching.

School districts have asked GSE staff to follow explicit protocols and make formal arrangements for your presence in their schools. Therefore, you may not freelance your field experience at a school of your choosing. If you have a special situation or difficulty around this field experience requirement, consult your advisor. Under no circumstances may you make your own placements. While every effort is made for students to have a shorter commute to schools, it is not assumed, and placement can be be anywhere in the local BOCES region or a bit beyond. You are expected to arrange transportation to your placement sites.

Although GSE will try to accommodate students with extenuating circumstances, we cannot waive the 100-hour requirement. Prior teaching experience is valuable, but cannot count toward meeting the 100-hour requirement because it is not linked to coursework. Purposeful fieldwork will help you become a stronger teacher, and GSE has designed these experiences to be valuable and meaningful. These experiences will help you develop your understanding of pedagogy, curriculum and the social, cultural and intellectual experiences of teaching and schooling. You will get to know teachers and students; you may help teachers by working with small groups or individual students. Your professors may also give you specific assignments connected to your field experiences.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact Rhonda Branca, senior staff assistant in the Graduate School of Education, via email or at 607-777-2581.


Professional Knowledge and Dispositions

The following are the Professional Knowledge and Disposition criteria to which all Graduate School of Education students are held accountable.  Students will be evaluated as they progress in their program, based upon:

Content Knowledge

  • Demonstrates accurate knowledge and skill in content subject matter.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and problem solving in the content subject matter.
  • Demonstrates curiosity and enthusiasm about subject matter.
  • Demonstrates the use of credible sources of information including current materials, and research in the content area.

Knowledge of Learning and Development

  • Demonstrates understanding of developmental theory and research to enhance student learning.
  • Shows respect to people from diverse backgrounds in coursework and field experiences.
  • Uses knowledge of individual differences to increase student learning.
  • Uses a variety of technologies and strategies in coursework and schools to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Instructional Planning, Practice, and Student Assessment

  • Uses her/his knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy to plan curriculum and teach effective lessons and units.
  • Implements effective assessment tools and procedures that demonstrate student learning.
  • Creates an effective and caring learning environment that promotes engagement, growth and achievement for all students.

Professional Behavior and Growth

  • Treats all university and school faculty, staff, and students with respect.
  • Demonstrates professional appearance and responsibility at all times.
  • Demonstrates professional relationships with university and school faculty and staff, adheres to university and school policies, and maintains student and staff confidentiality.
  • Demonstrates appropriate behavior with students.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to continual learning and improvement.


  • Writes at the graduate-level and adheres to specific writing standards in each of the disciplines.
  • Uses effective communication techniques in coursework and in schools.
  • Demonstrates academic honesty and demonstrates professional behavior in use of social media.
  • Effectively listens to faculty, collaborating teachers, students, and peers.

Getting Connected with Schools for Field Experience

Either Dr. Rhonda Branca or your course instructor will inform you when arrangements have been completed for you to start fieldwork. Please make it a priority to contact your school (i.e.asap within a few days).

When you call your school, make sure to say that the school administrator and GSE have approved your placement for fieldwork. Then provide the following information:

  • date you are expected to start
  • cooperating teacher's name
  • multiple ways the cooperating teacher can contact you.

If your cooperating teacher does not contact you within 3 days of leaving your message with the school, please inform Dr. Rhonda Branca at 777-2581, or

As you get ready to report to your school,

  • Find out about special instructions (i.e. where to report, sign in, parking, etc.)
  • Plan to introduce yourself to the school principal.
  • Be ready to share any information about your course and related field experience (course expectations, assignments to be based on fieldwork, etc).
  • Share your special strengths/talents with teacher, as well as areas of interest/concern.
  • Be punctual and professional at all times.

Upon completion of field experience, be sure to thank the teacher/principal for sharing their classroom community with you.

Fieldwork Log

You are responsible for documenting all your field experiences, so you must keep a log of your visits to include the dates and times you visit and the general activities associated with each visit. Your program or course instructors may specify a format for your fieldwork log or may allow you to use your own system, as long as it includes required information. You may count all productive time spent in the building, not only classroom work but observation in other classrooms, interaction with students and teachers outside of classroom, and time spent in a study hall or the cafeteria. Some courses may have specific requirements for fieldwork, and specific assignments to be completed, which should be documented in your log.


Student Teaching

After you have completed your 100 hours of field experience, you will be assigned to an area school for student teaching. Here is some useful information about student teaching:

  • Placements are carefully made, tailored to best matches between student and cooperating teacher. It is assumed that you have adequate transportation to schools in the Broome-Tioga BOCES region, or just beyond.
  • Professional appearance and behavior are expected at all times (see Guidelines below).
  • Communication is key. Make sure that you are organized, timely, and professional in all communication with your cooperating teachers and university professors.
  • Optimize your student teaching experience. Be enthusiastic, take careful notes, take initiative, and follow through on all work given to you by your cooperating teacher.

Student Teaching Workbook
The Student Teaching Workbook  provides some general guidance about what to expect and how to insure a successful student teaching experience. This document complements the information that your professors will give you when you take the student teaching course(s).


Professional Behavior: Some Additional Expectations

The Graduate School of Education expects you to conform to professional behavior in all your interactions with area schools. You exhibit professional behavior when you:

  • dress appropriately. No jeans, no revealing clothing, no extremely casual wear. You do not have to purchase a new wardrobe, but you do need to wear comfortable, clean professional attire.
  • follow school procedures. Ask and learn where to park and how to sign in. Find out if the teacher has specific expectations for you.
  • observe the confidentiality of professional relationships with administrators, parents, teachers, and students. Do not gossip about students or other teachers. It is unprofessional to comment about students or teachers in the faculty room, the cafeteria, the hall.
  • understand the teacher's legal obligations: a teacher is legally responsible for students and curriculum.
  • check with your teacher before deviating from the field experience arrangements drawn up for you. Do not simply drop in on any teacher's classroom to observe or decide that you are doing something other than what was assigned you.

Final Thoughts About Field Experience

Schools are dynamic environments, and repeated visits to the same class presents valuable opportunities for professional growth. Observation can be a very active exercise, going far beyond a simple focus on the teacher. Take advantage of the opportunity to observe the same class more than once. Take notes of everything you see, hear, and think about: these notes form the substance of your log and perhaps the basis of assignments in your courses. Take time to reflect on what you observe in the classroom and the entire school. What do you notice about students and how they engage (or fail to engage) the work? How does the teacher approach the students? The curriculum? How is the classroom managed? How many students are in each class? What does the curriculum entail? What is the atmosphere of the classroom? Be alive to the opportunities presented to you.

Finally, please be aware that you represent Binghamton University. The way you present yourself reflects not only upon you but also upon all Binghamton University students in Education; your behavior may affect not only others' field experiences and internships but their future employment as well. We're counting on you to do us proud.


Last Updated: 11/17/16