Field Education - Initial Preparation

The initial teacher preparation programs include Childhood and Early Childhood (CEC) - Literacy, Childhood and Early Childhood (CEC) - Special Education, and Master of Arts in Teaching - Adolescence Education programs.

Early field experiences

The initial preparation programs strive to create engaging, meaningful experiences that blend coursework with applied learning opportunities in local school and community placements. These experiences enable teacher candidates to achieve the 135 hours required by TLEL, 100 hours* of which are required by the New York State Education Department, prior to student teaching. Typically, this requirement is met over two semesters (Fall I and Spring I) in placements coordinated by the field experience office. Please note the 100-hour requirement is the current minimum required by NYSED for programs leading to a single certification. For programs that lead to multiple certifications, additional fieldwork hours are required.

*Although we try to accommodate teacher candidates with extenuating circumstances, the New York State Education Department does not allow waiver of the 100-hour minimum requirement. Prior teaching or substitute teaching experience is valuable, but cannot count toward meeting the 100-hour requirement because it is not linked to coursework.

Typical activities during early field experiences include:

  • Mentoring local students in high needs schools through the Liberty Partnerships Program.
  • Observing high-quality cooperating teachers in diverse schools and in diverse community settings.
  • Participating in small group activities in an assigned classroom.
  • Assisting with planning and implementing instruction alongside a mentor teacher.

During these early field experiences and throughout their program, it is anticipated that teacher candidates will demonstrate the professional dispositions expected of an educator. If concerns arise, cooperating teachers, site coordinators, and/or university supervisors may choose to complete a Disposition Concern form. In addition, at the completion of the field experience, cooperating teachers, site coordinators, and/or university supervisors will be asked to evaluate the professional dispositions of teacher candidates through approved TLEL forms.

Additional information about expectations during field experiences will be shared by course instructors and is in the field experience handbook.

In preparation for completing early field experiences, teacher candidates will be asked to create a TEACH account and get fingerprinted. Local school districts and community partners may choose to request evidence of completing these tasks prior to allowing field experiences to commence. After completing these activities, teacher candidates should connect with their cooperating teachers.


The field experience office collaborates with local school districts and community partners to provide teacher candidates with internships that meet the needs of their individual programs. These placements may include high-needs classrooms and schools in urban, suburban, or rural districts. While differences exist between programs, in general, teacher candidates should expect to spend 5 days per week in an assigned placement for a minimum of 40 school days, according to the local district’s calendar (not the university calendar). The complete internship experience is a minimum of 75 school days, according to SUNY policy.

Teacher candidates in the Adolescence (MAT) programs should anticipate completing two, 8-week placements or a single, 16-week placement with an assigned cooperating teacher. The field experience office works with faculty members to ensure teacher candidates gain diverse experiences throughout all field experience opportunities, including the Internship.

For teacher candidates in the Childhood and Early Childhood program, the internship lasts three semesters. In the fall, teacher candidates complete an internship focused on the role and responsibilities of a general educator, whereas the spring semester focuses on the specialty area selected by the teacher candidate (literacy or special education). Candidates in the Childhood and Early Childhood program also complete a summer internship in an early childhood setting.

Upon learning of their assigned placements for the internship, teacher candidates should connect with cooperating teachers.

Connecting with Cooperating Teachers

After field experiences are assigned, teacher candidates will be informed of arrangements and provided with contact information for assigned placements and cooperating teachers/site coordinators. Teacher candidates should make it a priority to contact these individuals and/or the assigned school as soon as possible to provide an expected start date and contact information (i.e., cell phone number and email).

In cases where the placement does not begin for several months (such as when the placement is made in the spring for a fall placement), teacher candidates should still contact the assigned cooperating teacher as soon as possible. If possible, the teacher candidate should plan at least one visit. Teacher candidates in the secondary programs who receive two placements for the spring semester should visit with each teacher immediately after receiving the placement, even if the bulk of the fieldwork with one of the teachers will not occur until later in the semester.

If the cooperating teacher does not return the student's email or phone call within three days, the student should inform Christina Mack, Assistant Director of Clinical Experiences, at 607-777-5205 or

Out of Area Placement Policy

Internship placements are made in the local geographic area; exceptions to this policy are possible, but rare.