In keeping with the progressive philosophy of the program, each Education course includes a field component through which professors seek continuously to integrate theory and practice, asking students to bridge text-oriented and experiential knowledge in the classroom and beyond it. Therefore, in addition to extensive exploration of educational theory, all courses require field placements in community schools ranging from two hours per week in the introductory course to full-time student teaching in the certification program.
The Education Program can provide students with tokens or train tickets for their field travel. To request either, submit a request for SEPTA train tickets and tokens. Or, to request reimbursement for costs already incurred, submit a request for transportation reimbursement. Please note that the Bryn Mawr Controller's Office processes travel reimbursement requests once each month – on the LAST Monday of each month for payment on the first Monday of the following month.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires student teachers and college students completing field placements in schools to obtain the following three background clearances. The Education Program or Bryn Mawr's Praxis Program will familiarize students enrolled in Education Program courses with the process for completing these clearances, will cover the expenses, and will maintain copies of the clearances.
Bryn Mawr and Haverford College students not currently enrolled in an Education Program course, but who need to obtain these clearances for other reasons (for a job or for thesis research in schools), may click on the above links to apply for the clearances directly. If they need help, they may contact Ann Brown, the Field Placements Coordinator in the Education Program, for guidance.
Attendance. It is very important that you go to your school when you are scheduled for a visit. Students, teachers, and administrators expect you, and they become worried, disappointed, and/or angry if you do not show up. If you are unable to go, you call the school PRIOR to the time you are expected to let the school know that you will not be there that day. Oversleeping, missing your ride, etc., are not acceptable excuses.
Represent your college. You represent Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges while you are an education intern at a school placement. Be respectful. Even if you disagree with - or even feel offended by - something that happens, think carefully before you react.
Dress appropriately. Look professional - no ripped jeans, baseball caps, shorts, flip-flops, athletic wear, etc.
Be on time. This is crucial. It is very disruptive to enter a classroom once the class period has begun. Plan to arrive early so that you always enter the classroom on time. If you must arrive late or mid-class, clarify this first with the teacher.
Check in at the receptionist’s desk/the main office the first time you visit (and every time if required).
Introduce yourself to your field placement teacher. Bring your letters of introduction (with your phone and email address) and give them to your placement teacher on your first visit.
Explain your presence. Be able to explain the purpose of your visit to anyone who asks (including students). If by the second or third visit your teacher has not formally introduced you to the class, ask the teacher if you could take a few moments to explain to the class the purpose of your visits.
Get known and make friends. Introduce yourself to receptionists, secretaries, administrators, librarians, other teachers – whomever you encounter.
Be helpful. Be sensitive to and respectful of the teacher as you participate in his or her class. You should take as active a role as possible, but be sure the teacher feels comfortable with what you do. Some teachers will expect you not to do more than attentively observe; others will invite you to play additional roles. After several visits, you may feel comfortable enough to propose a helping role, such as working with groups or individual students.
Scheduling. Find out what is on the school calendar so you can avoid “bad” days (school-wide testing, assemblies, etc.). It’s a good idea to confirm with your teacher when you will return, particularly if you are going to miss a week because of a college break or some other interruption. Exchange e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers for quick communication.
Weather. If you are in your placement during winter months, find out the 3- or 4-digit “School Closing Number” for the school you’re visiting. You can go on-line to http://www.kyw1060.com/, then enter this number to check for school closings. You can also listen to 1060AM KYW news radio to find out if your school is closed due to weather.
Express appreciation. Be sure to thank the teachers for taking you into their classrooms. Send a written thank-you at the end of the semester, perhaps in a card, with specific reference to how the placement helped you; it will be very much appreciated.
The purpose of these guidelines is to help you take wise precautions and stay in communication with us about any safety issues that arise as you complete field placement assignments for education courses. As you know, we in the Education Program, like our colleagues in many other fields, recognize the value of real-world experience to your learning. We seek to structure field placements that are rich with opportunities for you to observe educators at work and begin for yourselves the work of translating academic theory into professional practice.
You get to your placement in a variety of ways: by public transportation, car, and foot. Some of you choose, for a variety of reasons, to work in placements located in urban areas; others travel to suburban locations. The following guidelines are meant to serve as resources to you and as shared norms between us as you undertake this exciting work. We hope that they will spur useful discussions and help facilitate clear communication.
Reflect carefully on your own comfort-level with travel to unfamiliar places. Discuss any problems you foresee with your instructor or placement coordinator.
If your field placement is assigned in an area in which you feel more vulnerable than is usual for you, consider traveling with a classmate or group. Such an arrangement would make it possible to share impressions and insights about the placement as well as increase your sense of security.
Discuss your travel route and method with your instructor and/or with the Field Placement Coordinator. It is often possible for two heads to come up with a safe means of travel. If you develop concerns about the route and method you choose, please let one of us know as soon as possible. Also, consider asking your field supervisor or cooperating teacher for suggestions about issues such as parking, travel routes, bus stops, and so on of which they may have firsthand knowledge.
Should a problem of any kind that troubles you occur en route to, from, or at your placement, you must let your instructor and the Field Placement Coordinator know immediately. Our ability to help you enjoy a productive experience depends on clear, timely communication.