Opportunities in Education

Academic Opportunities

Practitioner Education Program

Please see the Practitioner Education Program page for more information.

Student Teaching

Goals of Student Teaching

Student teaching is the culminating experience in a student’s preparation to become a teacher. However, we expect that our program graduates will never finish developing and growing as teachers, so it is also a beginning.

The purpose of student teaching is to provide a safe and supervised environment in which the student teacher slowly assumes more and more teaching duties until he/she is responsible for the entire day.  We would like student teachers to teach full days for 4-5 weeks, if possible, so that they get a real feel for what teaching is like and experience the classroom after the effects of being new have worn off.  We do want to ease students in gradually, but we also believe that student teachers will benefit from having as much experience as possible. 

Student teaching is an important time in the development of a teacher. In the Department of Education at Grinnell College we, who supervise student teachers, want to provide them and their cooperating teacher with the necessary support during this exciting but sometimes exhausting time.  

Placements and Expectations

Most students will do their student teaching in Grinnell or nearby communities.  Schools where we make placements represent a good cross-section of types of experiences and some of our schools serve ethnically diverse populations. Placements are made in consultation with the student, and we try to consider the students’ needs, strengths, and future plans when we make a placement.

We want students to view student teaching as an entry to the profession, not a college course. This new profession includes a number of responsibilities, and the extent to which students take them seriously will contribute to a positive student teaching experience. Student teachers should understand that all responsibilities and policies that apply to regularly employed teachers apply to them as well.

In that vein, student teaching is a full time job.  The expectations are the same for student teachers as for teachers in terms of a forty-hour workweek with additional meetings after school and frequent lesson planning and paper checking in the evenings. Student teachers should expect that planning would take much more time during student teaching and the first year of a job than it will in subsequent years.

Student Teaching Application Process

Students will NOT be automatically placed in student teaching if they complete the required courses. Students must apply to student teach. Application forms will be sent to all program students who complete the necessary courses.

The application is due the second Friday in February prior to your student teaching.

The Teacher Education Committee will review your application and send you a letter confirming your acceptance in late April. The requirements for student teaching are listed below so you can see what personal qualities and skills you need to develop and demonstrate during your undergraduate Teacher Education Program.

Overview of Requirements for Student Teaching

  • Ability to work constructively with students, demonstrated by successful completion of field experiences and cooperating teachers’ evaluation.
  • Sufficient mastery of the discipline(s) for which licensure is sought.
  • Strong liberal arts education background.
  • A basic knowledge of education theory, history, and practice including an understanding of the interdependence of education and society and the importance of individual identity in teaching and learning. 
  • Students must demonstrate a commitment to equity and knowledge of theories of development and learning.
  • Skills in preparing and teaching lessons in accordance with principles learned in core and methods courses.
  • Good communication skills and the ability to establish constructive relationships.

Performance Assessment and Feedback

In addition to your core course grades, you will have evaluations from the practicing teachers you work with during your field experiences and substantial feedback from the instructors of your methods courses. Each semester during pre-registration, you and your adviser will discuss your progress in the performance assessment system, your College BASE scores, field experience evaluations, GPA requirements, and any other concerns that you or your education faculty have. You will receive timely feedback and your adviser will help you make specific plans to address any areas of concern.


Education internships

Students interested in education can participate in school-based internships or internships that introduce one to the policy/administrative aspects of education. In recent years, students have conducted internships in curricular reform, after-school programs, drop-out prevention, museum education and place-based pedagogy. If you are interested in an education focused internship, you should contact either an education department faculty member or someone in the Career Development Office to discuss your ideas.

Research Assistants

The Education Department occasionally hires students to assist faculty with their work. For more information, please contact Ashley Schaefer.

Awards, Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly competitive full-cost awards for full-time graduate study and research in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

To apply: Gates Cambridge Scholarship application

Marshall Scholarships

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

To apply: Marshall Scholarship application

Mitchell Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former US Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

To apply: Mitchell Scholarship Program application

Rhodes Scholarships

Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international educational fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford.

To apply: Rhodes Scholar application

Activities and Organizations


The Student Educational Policy Committee, or SEPC, is a student-faculty liaison group which provides faculty with student input on professors, candidates, curriculum, and other departmental issues. It also organizes social events within the department.



If you are interested in teaching at the college level, for the Peace Corps, Teach For America, or in areas such as environmental education, you could prepare yourself by taking a methods course in your discipline. The methods courses are theory based courses that help students make a theory to practice connection through peer teaching and a short teaching experience in the schools. To enroll in any of our methods courses, you will need to have taken at least EDU 101 and EDU 221: Educational Psychology.

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