Clinical Educator Expectations


The William Paterson University clinical field experiences are designed to involve teacher candidates in a series of gradually more difficult tasks.  In preparation for your clinical practice, your teacher candidate has engaged in observations, tutoring and clinical experiences. Clinical practice should use a co-teaching model (See Co-Teaching).

  • Begin with observing and co-teaching
  • Continue with assisting the teacher with small tasks, teaching, or tutoring small groups
  • Progress to taking the lead in co-teaching; responsibility for one or more subjects or classes
  • Lead to full-time teaching with teacher co-teaching as an assistant

Progress in the assignment of new tasks will depend on the readiness of your teacher candidate and the needs of your local situation.  The clinical educator and clinical supervisor can develop a plan for progressing through the various stages of clinical practice.  The governing factor is the time necessary for the individual to accomplish the tasks in each stage and successfully complete clinical practice.  

During the observation/beginning co-teaching stage, your teacher candidate should have an overview of the: (1) operation of the school; (2) the work of the teacher; (3) the behavior of the students; and (4) professional conduct.   

Remember to:

  • Allow for different rates of development in teacher candidates.  This one may not resemble the last one.
  • Build self-confidence in your teacher candidate by commending things which he or she does well.
  • Expect your teacher candidate to live up to the standards for a beginning teacher in your school and community.

 Your teacher candidate is expected to eventually participate in all aspects of your work, for example, faculty meetings, parent conferences, reviewing homework, and administering tests.

Constructive criticism is one of the most valuable things you can give to a teacher candidate.  The intent is to make the teacher candidate a better teacher.  Please discuss this with the teacher candidate so that he or she understands your purpose when giving specific feedback.

Do not assume that the teacher candidate has learned all the answers beforehand.  Do not hesitate to comment on any area that you feel needs improvement, including planning, initiative, classroom management, improper use of English, inappropriate dress, attendance, punctuality, or attitude. 

Contact the clinical supervisor IMMEDIATELY if you have ANY concerns.  The clinical supervisor needs to know when problems arise.  Contact the Office of Field Experiences (720-3132/2109) if you feel the need.  Do not allow minor problems to grow into major ones through inaction.  It is essential that the clinical educator and the clinical supervisor be in close communication.


The Clinical Experience at William Paterson University is intended to be a learning situation for the university teacher candidate based on involvement in a series of graduated tasks.  It should begin with observation, continue to serve as a teacher's assistant, and conclude with as much as possible teaching.


  • Assist with technology.
  • Give individual help to students.
  • Help with classroom responsibilities – word choice.
  • Assist with field trips.
  • Help to set up displays, exhibits, bulletin boards.
  • Teach small groups.
  • Teach whole group lessons.
  • Volunteer to assist in any endeavor that will enhance your professional growth.

CHECKLIST FOR THE CLINICAL EDUCATOR: Clinical Experience Teacher Candidates

Clinical experience teacher candidates must teach a minimum of two whole class lessons which are observed by the clinical supervisor. Some teacher candidates will have additional lessons which they need to teach for their associated methods courses.


As with your own students, allow for different rates of development among clinical experience teacher candidates.  Don't assume that the university student has had all the educational methodology courses or that all teacher candidates will show equal readiness.  Some teacher candidates have had experiences working with children before and others have not.

Remember, that with some teacher candidates, you will need to help build self-confidence.  With others you will need to speak firmly and frankly when they show poor judgment.

Recognize that this may be the university teacher candidate's first try at a responsible, professional and demanding job.

Keep the teacher candidate informed regularly of his or her progress.

Talk at length and frankly with the clinical supervisor concerning strengths and weaknesses of the teacher candidate.

Contact the clinical supervisor or the Office of Field Experiences (973-720-3132) if there is a serious difficulty.

At the end of the teacher candidate's experience, fill out the Clinical Educator's Clinical Experience Report, via Chalk & Wire. The evaluation will automatically be sent to the teacher candidate.

CHECKLIST FOR THE CLINICAL EDUCATOR: Clinical Practice Teacher Candidates

Your role as a clinical educator is to serve as a model and a guide.  In the first stage of co-teaching, you teach while the teacher candidate observes your techniques in developing a lesson.  Later you review with the teacher candidate the procedures that you used.  As a guide, you help the teacher candidate to plan, and you critique the teacher candidate's teaching.  The checklist that follows provides you with recommendations for you to consider as you welcome your teacher candidate into your classroom. 


  • Interview the teacher candidate/resident to see what motivates him or her, read the teacher candidate/resident's Resume for Clinical Work, and provide an orientation to the school and community.
  • Make arrangements for the teacher candidate to have work-space in your classroom.
  • Read this entire booklet, including the pages addressed to the teacher candidate/resident.
  • Prepare your students ahead for the teacher candidate/resident, pointing out that this new colleague will share the authority and responsibility of a teacher.  When you introduce the teacher candidate to your class, possibly with some biographical data, explain that he or she will be an associate teacher.
  • Discuss your expectations.
  • Provide the teacher candidate with textbooks, curriculum guides and materials, and a list of the units of work the teacher candidate will be teaching.
  • Acquaint your teacher candidate with major policies, customs, and procedures of the school, for instance, procedures for fire drills. 
  • Introduce your teacher candidate/resident to colleagues, showing him/her around the building, and helping him/her to feel at home.  Introduce your teacher candidate to the custodians, office workers, media specialists, guidance counselors, media specialists etc.
  • Help your teacher candidate/resident to get to know the students as individuals by making accessible to him/her records, tests, or other data on student progress, in accordance with school policy.  Teacher candidates need to know IEP goals and recommendations in order to differentiate instruction.
  • Acquaint your teacher candidate/resident with the school's expectations about student behavior.
  • Help your teacher candidate/resident to make arrangements to visit other classes, including other grades and subjects, to see varied teaching styles.  Arrange for your teacher candidate to plan ahead for the units of work that he or she will soon teach.  Explain the school's and your own expectations concerning lesson planning (See this booklet's suggested format for lesson planning).
  • Invite your teacher candidate/resident to faculty or department meetings, to parent teacher meetings, and other school events as they are required to attend.  Please be aware that, because of certain required university classes or seminars, your teacher candidate occasionally may not be available for certain meetings.
  • Plan a schedule in conjunction with the clinical supervisor for the teacher candidate to gradually assume responsibility of the class using the co-teaching model.
  • Complete the Cooperating Teacher Survey on Chalk and Wire sent to you via e-mail.


  • Realize that causes of difficulty in clinical practice may include the student's lack of understanding of the nature of the teaching job, inexperience with any type of professional work and difficulty applying theory to practice.
  • Allow your teacher candidate freedom of planning and the opportunity to try new ideas, consistent with school goals. 
  • Provide daily feedback and critiques of your teacher candidate's planning and performance.  Expect a limited number of mistakes.  Offer guidance so that weaknesses may be overcome.
  • Guide and encourage your teacher candidate so that she or he knows how to: (1) adapt presentations to various ability levels; (b) manage and discipline the classroom appropriately; and (c) find creative approaches to motivate students.
  • Invite the principal, clinical supervisor, or department head to observe and critique the teacher candidate.


  • Keep the teacher candidate informed of his/her progress, giving continuous written and verbal feedback beginning the first week.  You will do one formal observation with the clinical supervisor.
  • Update the clinical supervisor each time he or she visits as to the strengths and weaknesses of the teacher candidate and their progress to date.
  • The Interim Report  (PACE), a formative assessment of the teacher candidate's performance,  should be frank and honest, particularly since its purpose is to guide rather than to serve as a permanent record.  The Interim Report should be similar to that of the clinical supervisor based on close communication about strengths and weaknesses.  This report is to be completed in Chalk and Wire and will be sent to you via e-mail.
  •  The Final Report (PACE) is a summative assessment of the teacher candidate's performance.  Teacher candidates cannot be certified without this report.  This report should also be comparable with that of the clinical supervisor’s report. This report is to be completed in Chalk and Wire and will be sent to you via e-mail.
  • The clinical supervisor needs to know the reasons for your judgments before he or she writes their final report. Chalk & Wire – Interim Report w/ Observation, Final w/ Narrative final, Evaluation of Supervisor, Program Specific Assessment.