Student Teaching: Decision Point 2

Student teaching is an extended clinical/field experience placement in educational settings that allow you to observe and participate in ongoing teaching of birth to grade 12 students. In these longer-term experiences, students teach full time under the supervision of an experienced teacher and are expected to become independent in their planning, instruction, assessment, and management over the course of the experience.

Student teaching at Iowa State University combines classroom experience with academic learning such as reflections, lesson plans, assessments, etc. These components are considered when determining the final grade earned by the candidate.

Student Teaching Commitment & Timeline

Student teaching can be thought of like an internship. Teacher candidates are expected to follow the district’s calendar and contract times. They attend school Monday through Friday following the contract hours for teachers in the district and the hours kept by their cooperating teacher. Student teaching is an extensive time commitment and includes a full-time experience in school settings for a full semester.

Teacher candidates are not allowed to take any classes during the semester in which they are student teaching. In addition, teacher candidates are also responsible for their own living expenses, whether they are student teaching in central Iowa or in an outside location.


Student teachers need to know their specific student teaching course number in order to register. They receive this course number at the mandatory student teaching placement meeting the semester before they student teach (at the beginning of December for spring student teachers and at the end of April for fall student teachers).

Student Teaching Assignments

All student teaching assignments are made through Teacher Education Services in 1720 Lagomarcino Hall. At all locations, placements vary by semester and year. Not all academic areas are used within each district and districts restrict the number of placements accepted.

  • Assignments are made by the clinical experiences coordinator with the assistance of university faculty from various subject areas
  • Candidates generally indicate several geographic and grade level preferences and, whenever possible, those wishes are given serious consideration
  • Districts may require an interview and have the right to accept or reject a student teaching application. Teacher Education Services at Iowa State University facilitates the placement of student teachers, but the final decision is that of the school district
  • Students may not contact schools directly to facilitate either a practicum or student teaching placement. If the student fulfills all of the requirements to student teach, providing one placement for student teaching is the obligation of the university. If a student is not successful during student teaching, additional placements do not have to be made by the university

Placement Process and Timing

Two semesters before your student teaching semester you will begin the student teaching application procedure.

Student Teaching – Outside Central Iowa

Iowa State University offers a number of student teaching locations outside of central Iowa but within the United States. These sites have trained supervisors who are familiar with Iowa State University materials, expectations and standards and are ready to support your experience.

In Iowa

As long as a university supervisor is able to cover a placement location, the potential for placement in nearly any Iowa district exists.

Outside Iowa

If you’re interested in student teaching outside of Iowa, your options will be explained at your Round Up meeting two semesters before you student teach.

Things to know when considering to student teach in an outside location:

  • Locations outside of Iowa will require proof of professional liability insurance; which is an additional out-of-pocket expense
  • If you are entering into student teaching with a student improvement plan or significant concerns expressed by your program coordinator/advisor, you may not be approved to be placed in an outside location
  • Student teaching start dates will follow the assigned district calendar
  • You will still be completing the State of Iowa Licensure requirements in all of the above locations

Please attend the Student Teaching Open House offered once each semester to learn more about current student teaching options.

International Student Teaching

The Iowa State University international student teaching program is unlike any other in the country. This established program, fostered by Iowa State University faculty/staff through relationships with international school district partners, offers:

  • An authentic cultural experience — for most of the countries the student is immersed in a local teaching experience or an international school that draws students from around the world
  • Support from the Iowa State coordinator that thoroughly knows the area and has a direct relationship with the local school district
  • Clinical experience that meets all of the Iowa State and State of Iowa teaching requirements, including being evaluated by an Iowa State supervisor

About the Program

  • The student can student teach eight weeks in another country as an option for the second half of the usual culminating student teaching experience
  • Destination locations vary from semester to semester. Students can learn more about upcoming locations at the Student Teaching Open House offered each semester
  • The student will be part of a small group of Iowa State students participating in the student teaching experience for that country
  • The full-time student teaching experience is the focus of the trip and students are held to State of Iowa and Iowa State program standards and expectations for studying abroad
  • An Iowa State site coordinator visits the student teacher during the student teaching experience to supervise and evaluate the student
  • When free time permits, students can take part in sight-seeing and other local adventures
  • You do not need to know the local language for teaching purposes

Iowa State Support

Students receive the support of the Iowa State School of Education coordinator, who has invested a considerable amount of time in developing lasting long-term relationships with the participating country’s school district and the surrounding area:

  • Once chosen, the Iowa State coordinator is closely involved with the student, including visiting the student while the student is teaching
  • Iowa State arranges housing for the students
  • A series of pre-departure meetings helps prepare students for the upcoming trip. Former international student teachers are there to answer questions
  • The Iowa State supervisor observes several days of student teaching the classroom

Getting Started

If you are interested in international student teaching, we strongly encourage your Student Teaching Open.

Students can begin looking into this program early. To be considered for the program, the student completes an application, which can be submitted well in advance, and participates in an interview.

Application: The application can be found on the ISU Abroad website.

Interview: you will be required to interview for a spot in the international student teaching program. Information will be provided via email.


  • Tuition and fees
  • Program fee
  • Travel to/from the destination
  • Housing
  • Incidentals: food, entertainment, personal expenses

The program fee varies depending on the site. It covers the costs involved in making the placement, partnering with the local school district, and conducting the supervision of the student. The program fee makes this self-supporting program possible.

Travel grant: The College of Human Sciences offers a travel grant of up to $800 to qualifying students.


Pack up your lesson plans for the ultimate continental capstone experience!

Join other adventurous Iowa State University student teachers around the globe. Put your best instructional skills to use as you work with international youth. At the same time, let them teach you about their amazing cultures. Look beyond the campus: There’s a whole big world out there. Now look inside your new teaching bag bulging with ideas: See the whole new world of opportunities for some lucky young students in there.

You and student teaching abroad – it’s a match made in heaven. If you’re interested in student teaching abroad, check out this Canvas page for some of our locations!

  • Rosendal, Norway
  • Alexandria, New Zealand
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany (fall only)
  • Krosno, Poland (spring only)

Budget sheet for international student teaching

You can teach in English in all locations, and if your Spanish language skills are high enough there are additional opportunities in Ecuador. Each location is special in terms of the classroom experiences they offer, with some subjects or placement areas only available in certain locations.

For more information contact: