ConferencesField Instructors are responsible for scheduling conferences. Conferences must include the intern, Mentor Teacher, and field instructor. They should be scheduled to allow all participants to meet for at least one hour. Everyone, especially the intern, should have a chance to talk about their perceptions of the intern's strengths, weaknesses, and plan of action. Each intern's professional future is ultimately his or her own responsibility. Others are there to help the intern accept that responsibility wisely.
Intern Support ProceduresIf the Mentor Teacher and field instructor agree that an intern is not passing, they should follow the Intern Support and Problem Solving Procedures. The field instructor will notify both the intern and the team in writing. This notification will include a clear statement of the nature of the intern's difficulties and suggestions for how the intern can address those difficulties during the remainder of the semester. If the field instructor and Mentor Teacher disagree or would like additional help they should consult the field instructor coordinator.
Initial Conference: August 28 – mid-September
PurposesEstablish communication among interns, Mentor Teachers, and field instructors and get the year off to a good start.
What to BringEveryone should bring their calendar to facilitate scheduling of observation visits. Interns should bring their focus class binder.
Guidelines for Initial Conference of Field Instructor, Intern, and Mentor TeacherThe initial conference among the field instructor, intern, and mentor teacher occurs during the first two weeks of the school year. It is not an observation of the intern teaching a lesson, but rather an occasion for establishing lines of communication and expectations among the field instructor, the intern, and the mentor teacher. Ideally, this meeting should take place in the mentor teacher's classroom after school or during a prep period.
There are important items for discussion that the field instructor should raise during this meeting. The list which follows, while not exhaustive, contains items useful to discuss or important information to be exchanged at this time. Reference to many of these can be found in the Field Instructors Handbook.
Information to be shared during this meeting
- The intern's teaching schedule including the clock times [e.g., 8:15-9:10, not just First Period: Chemistry]
- The school's phone number
- The field instructor's phone number
- The mentor teacher's classroom phone number or extension number
- The intern's and mentor teacher's e-mail addresses along with an indication of how often each checks their e-mail messages
- The field instructor's e-mail address
- Establish a date and time for the first observation of the intern's teaching
- Information concerning parking. Where is a good place to park? Do I need a parking sticker to park there?
- Information about being a guest in this school. Do I need to get a Visitor's Pass from the school office upon arriving at the school?
- Ask the intern what s/he has been doing in the classroom thus far.
- Using the calendars in the Field Instructor or Mentor Teacher's Handbook, explain your schedule for visits including what happens when you observe the intern teach [e.g., your expectations for the organization of the focus class binder, your level of interaction with the students during the lesson, the post-observation conference, etc.]
- Discuss the substitute teaching form. What are the district's policies about becoming a substitute teacher? Discuss plans for the next couple of weeks.
- Preview the mid-term evaluation form and the procedures associated with this conference
- Remind the intern s/he is to follow their school's calendar for days off, not MSU's calendar. There may be MSU classes held on days when the school is closed.
- Discuss an appropriate lesson plan format
- Discuss the procedure for completing and submitting journal entries
- Check the focus class binder
- What help does the intern need in preparing for Lead Teaching? What will the intern be doing? How will the mentor teacher help socialize him/her into the school and profession?
- Describe the process of accessing the mentor teacher's professional account, made available to the school by MSU for hosting an intern
- Discuss expectations about communication between field instructor and mentor teacher (talk or exchange e-mail messages before each conference; communication whenever necessary about perceptions, problems, questions)
- Lead teaching schedule and course assignments (discuss the role of the field instructor and mentor teacher in supporting the intern in this context; the importance of allowing time for intern to carry out adequate planning and reflection; and the importance of a combination of course work and work in schools for beginning teacher development)
Fall Mid Semester Conference: October 16 – October 31
PurposesThis conference is focused on the intern's progress based on an example of intern's work or a joint observation by the Mentor Teacher and the field instructor. If anyone is seriously concerned about an intern's progress, this is the occasion to discuss those concerns and what can be done about them.
What to bringInterns should bring a videotape or other example of their work and the focus class binder. Each participant should complete an assessment grid or other written summary of the intern's progress related to the program standards and bring copies to share.
Professional Development PlanA written professional development plan should be developed by the intern after the mid semester conference, with assistance from the field instructor and Mentor Teacher. The plan should outline a few areas on which the intern will work for the remainder of the semester and how others will support the intern in those areas.
In cases when there is doubt whether the intern is making sufficient progress, the Mentor Teacher and field instructor should inform the intern in writing of the specific deficits, what will constitute adequate performance, what the intern needs to do to achieve an adequate performance, and how they will work with the intern to meet such goals. Depending on the nature of the intern's difficulties (e.g. the intern is at risk of failing), the school coordinator should also be informed.
- Second guided lead teaching (what will intern teach, co-planning, co-teaching)
- Questions or aspects of teaching the intern might focus on
- Field instructor feedback form
Fall Final Conference: December 4 to December 15
PurposesReflection on the fall term, planning for the spring term, grading.
What to bringEach participant should bring a brief essay, notes, or an assessment grid evaluating the interns' progress since the mid semester conference. It is important to take the intern's Professional Development Plan into account when drafting this evaluation. Essays and notes should incorporate the program standards. Interns should bring their focus class binder and copies of their professional development plans. Interns should also prepare the following documents before the conference:
- A description of "My typical week next term"
- Interns should consult with their Mentor Teachers about their responsibilities next term. How many classes will the intern be teaching each day? How many preps will the intern have? What hours? What else will the intern be doing most days? Everything does not have to be finalized before the final conference but an agreement needs to be reached during that conference.
- An overview of material the intern will be teaching.
Planning for the futureWith reference to the intern's responsibilities for spring term, discuss:
- What materials and resources will the intern need?
- What aspects of the subject matter content does the intern need to prepare
- What areas are worrisome?
- What are some things the intern would like to try?
GradingField instructors and Mentor Teachers should determine the grade before the final conference. Grade options are detailed on pg. 22. If the field instructor and Mentor Teacher disagree about the grade they should meet before the conference to negotiate, contacting the field instructor coordinator for help if necessary.
Spring Mid Semester Conference: February 12 to February 23
PurposesAs we approach the middle of the lead-teaching period, it is important to take stock of each intern's progress to date and begin looking forward to final evaluations. At this conference:
- Inform interns about their strengths and weaknesses at this point.
- Identify specific aspects of the intern's teaching practice that might need refinement.
- Start thinking about what final reports will look like on the basis of interns' performance to date.
What to BringEach participant should bring a written assessment of the intern's current performance on the program standards. These materials will be the foundation of the Exit Performance Descriptions.
- Field instructor visit schedule
- Field instructor feedback form (From website)
- Questions or problems
Spring Final Conference: April 2 – 13
PurposesThe Spring Final Conference is an opportunity to read one another's Exit Performance Descriptions, assign the intern's final grade for the year, and to make some concluding commentary on the internship experience.
What to BringMentor Teachers and field instructors should bring a draft of the exit performance description. Interns should bring their portfolios.
The Exit Performance DescriptionThe final evaluation of the intern's performance is formally written as an Exit Performance Description (EPD). Both the field instructor and the Mentor Teacher are responsible for producing individual EPD's representing the intern's performance for the year based on the Program Standards (see pg. 17). An EPD is not a letter of recommendation. It is an evaluative document designed to assess an intern's strengths and weaknesses as a prospective teacher. The intern may choose to include this document in his/her Placement File in the Career Development and Placement Office. Each final evaluation should include the following:
Field InstructorA brief description of the MSU teacher preparation program. This should describe the intern's preparation for teaching through coursework history and internship context. A boilerplate will be available from the Secondary Team.
An assessment of the Intern's performance related to the Program Standards with evidence drawn from observation notes, mid-semester and final evaluations. Use specific examples from the intern's teaching as they relate to the program standards when applicable.
Mentor TeachersA brief description of the school context such as demographics (urban, sub-urban, or rural), student body, grades and subjects taught by the intern.
An assessment of the intern's performance related to the Program Standards with evidence drawn from notes, mid-semester and final evaluations. Use specific examples from the intern's teaching.
EPD ProcessAfter the Mentor Teacher and field instructor have finished their first drafts of the EPD the intern should be given the opportunity to read and respond to what they have read. If the intern feels it is a fair assessment he/she should sign each document and give these copies to their field instructor. If there are some issues of contention the intern should discuss this with the author(s) of the EPD and examine the options. The Mentor Teacher and field instructor are under no obligation to change their EPD's.
Distributing and Collecting EPD Forms
- EPD forms will be distributed at a field instructor or Mentor Teacher meeting. Field instructors are responsible for delivering 2 final copies to Mentor Teachers if they miss the meeting.
- The forms can be copied as needed until a final version is ready for signature.
- Field instructors and Mentor Teachers are responsible for furnishing five (5) completed and signed copies of their EPD. Two (2) copies of each EPD should be submitted to the Secondary Team Secretary. The intern, Mentor Teacher and field instructor each keep one copy.
- EPD's are due to the Secondary Team Support Staff by April 20.
Differences between the EPD and a letter of recommendationThe EPD is a required evaluation document that describes the intern's success in meeting program standards. The EPD should provide an honest (though not unnecessarily harsh) evaluation of the intern's success. Interns can decide not to sign one or both of their EPDs. We keep unsigned EPDs on file, but do not send them to Placement Services.
Some interns also request letters of recommendation, which are generally shorter and supportive in tone. There is really little reason for field instructors or mentors who have already written EPDs to also write letters of recommendation. As an official program document, the EPD has more weight with prospective employers than a letter. So whether you write letters for interns who request them is a personal choice for you. It is not an obligation that comes with the role as an instructor in the program.