The Field Placement Office assists educator candidates in identifying and securing early field experiences and practicum placements in order to complete their educational licensure program. We build and maintain partnerships with schools and educators to enable students to gain valuable classroom experience in preparation for their future profession.
Candidates in a Master of Education program leading to Initial licensure* must complete two components of student teaching:
- Early Field Experience: 75 hours of classroom experience
- Practicum: a full-time, full semester teaching experience that takes place at the end of your program of study.
*If you are a Specialist Teacher of Reading candidate, please go to the Specialist Teacher of Reading field placement page.
What You Need to Know
Early Field Experience Requirement
Candidates in Initial licensure programs must complete 75 hours of early field experience as early in their program as possible, to become familiar with the school environment. Observing and participating in the classroom will give you exposure to the routines, curriculum, and activities that are part of the school day. It also prepares you for your practicum. This is not credit-bearing, and there are no fees required. It is a requirement that, along with several others, must be fulfilled before you begin your student teaching practicum at the end of the program.
Candidates Needing Field Experience
The Field Placement office will work with you to find a placement in an urban or suburban Massachusetts school. You can use the Early Field Experience Application to begin the process. Please note that the early field experience cannot be completed at the same time as your practicum, and planning should begin the semester before you intend to complete your early field experience hours.
Candidates with Field Experience
If you have current or past experience in a classroom (within the last five years), you may request that your experience be used to fulfill this requirement.* It requires written documentation, explained in detail on the Documentation of Prior Learning form. Please note that documentation will be reviewed and accepted, even without using the template provided. Documentation must be completed and submitted to the Field Placement Office prior to the start of your practicum.
*Beginning Fall 2016, this does not apply to any elementary education program with EEDUC 6633, Connecting Theory to Practice: School Based Pre-Practicum.
Handbooks and Forms
Early Field Experience Handbook (PDF)
(includes summary/log and evaluation)
Early Field Experience Handbook for Teacher of Visual Art Students (DOC)
Early Field Experience Application
Documentation of Prior Learning and Template (DOC)
Mileage Log (XLS) (for Program Supervisors)
Planning Your Student Teaching/Practicum Experience
All placements must be approved by the Office of Field Placement. Contact us to begin planning your practicum the semester prior to your practicum to ensure a suitable placement. We hold practicum planning sessions at the beginning of each semester.
You'll need to meet the following to be eligible for the practicum:
- Complete all required prerequisite coursework for their program
- Complete all MTELs required for the license being sought. More information regarding MTELs and MTEL workshops.
- Complete and document an Early Field Experience
- Hold a G.P.A of 3.0 or higher
- Have no incomplete or failing grades
Practicum Application Deadlines
Fall: May 31
Spring: December 1
MTEL Score Deadlines
Fall: August 18
Spring: December 20
You may be able to use your current employment for your placement if it is an appropriate setting and an appropriate supervising practitioner is available. You are responsible for arranging your placement with the employer and gaining approval from the office. Please contact your assistant director for academic advising for details and to verify that your current employment will be acceptable for your practicum.
Teacher Candidate Practicum Process
- Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your readiness for your intended practicum semester.
- Attend an information session.
- Complete the practicum application: your completed application is the first indicator to our office that you intend to complete a practicum, and will officially begin the placement process. You need to have an application on file before proceeding further with the process.
- Submit the remaining documentation directly to your field placement administrator for approval:
- MTEL scores
- Current resume
- Early field experience documentation
- Supervising practitioner paperwork
- Copy of supervising practitioner's license (screenshot of ELAR profile is acceptable)
- Once your practicum documents are reviewed and approved, your field placement administrator will notify you and give you instructions on registering for the practicum and seminar course.
- Register for the practicum and seminar.
Forms and Handbooks
The following forms and handbooks are necessary to complete the early field and practicum experiences. Most are Word documents. Please also take a moment to familiarize yourself with the revised Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers.
Alternatives to a Semester-Based Practicum
If you'd like to consider an alternative to a traditional fall or spring practicum semester, we have two offerings, both accompanied by a Lesley-based seminar. You must have met all practicum prerequisites prior to entering your practicum semester.
Year-Long Paid Internship
Spend a full academic year working as an intern in a public school, completing all required field experiences while earning a stipend and gaining valuable learning experience. You will have an official practicum semester and will take a accompanying seminar.
Interns begin working in their schools before the children arrive in September, and remain until the last day in June, working collaboratively with highly skilled mentor teachers. Depending on a variety of factors, you'll complete your practicum in either the fall or spring semester. Though the Field Placement office tries to ensure that all student and school needs are met, we cannot guarantee a school will be able to accommodate every student situation. Please contact our office if you are interested in an internship position.
The Summer Compass Program provides a six-week academic experience for approximately 125-150 Cambridge Public School children in grades PreK-6. Lesley and the Cambridge Public Schools collaboratively offer the program, with Lesley candidates able to fulfill part of their student teaching during the summer. The program typically runs from late June through mid-August at a Cambridge public school.
The 2018 program will be held at the Tobin Montessori School from July 2–August 9. This year's theme will be Compass Goes Green.
This practicum alternative is available for candidates in one of our Early Childhood, Elementary, Moderate Disabilities, Instructional Technology, or Specialist Teacher of Reading Initial license programs. It involves:
- A 7-week half-practicum and seminar during the summer semester in a Cambridge public school (for Specialist Teacher of Reading students, the Summer Compass 7-week experience satisfies the entire practicum requirement)
- A 7-week half-practicum and seminar during the fall semester at a Massachusetts public school and Lesley University
The program offers an inclusive school environment using a thematic curriculum format, and prepares Lesley candidates in a setting where specialists and general educators develop and implement programs together. Average class size is 20-25 students. Each classroom has a team consisting of a mentor teacher and up to three student teachers, and often includes both general and special education practitioners in a co-teaching model.
Student teachers are closely supervised by Lesley supervisors, who are on site several days a week. Weekly two-and-a-half hour seminars are held on site for student teachers, to reflect on their teaching and discuss issues related to the program and their licensure areas. Before the program begins, all staff and student teachers have a week of orientation and set-up.
If you are interested in joining us next summer, or would like more information, please call 617.349.8399, or apply here.
School District Requirements
School districts have a variety of requirements for student teachers, which may include immunization records and criminal background checks (CORIs) and fingerprinting. Please inquire about these when you meet with the teacher or principal, and find out where requested information should be sent.