Clinical Experience Expectations


A Guide for Clinical Experience

Clinical experiences at William Paterson University provide a foundation for Clinical Practice.

What Clinical Experience Teacher Candidates Should Know and Understand

  • Behavioral characteristics of children in various educational settings.
  • Individual differences among and between students coming from diverse backgrounds.
  • Family, social, and cultural contexts that affect student learning and behaviors.
  • The importance of social interaction and student collaboration in the classroom. 
  • Economic, political, technological, and socio-cultural issues influencing education today. 
  • School and classroom routines and the schools' social and cultural climate. 
  • How concepts, skills and values are taught through the curriculum. 
  • The short and long-term planning process for various content areas (i.e., how lesson objectives support the schools' curriculum objectives). 
  • The importance of using varied and effective instructional techniques that promote higher-level thinking skills.
  • Assessment techniques and procedures used to understand student learning outcomes (formative, summative etc.).
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities as a teacher. 
  • The relationship between the grade level or content-area(s) and the school’s curricular goals/philosophy.    


  1. Teacher candidates must adhere to all University policies.
  2. A NJ DOE background check using WP reporting codes.

What Clinical Experience Teacher Candidates Should Do

  • Observe, assist, plan and gradually implement lessons and units, where appropriate, using the co-planning and co-teaching strategies along with varied materials, technologies, and instructional formats.
  • Assist with classroom routines (e.g., attendance, bulletin board designs, grading classwork and homework, and grade books).
  • Assist with classroom instructions (e.g., one-to-one, small group, large group) to promote learning, social interaction, and student collaboration.
  • Demonstrate professional teacher behavior, appropriate appearance, positive attitude, and commitment (e.g., respect for students, punctuality, appropriate relationship between student and teacher, willingness to accept and act on constructive feedback).
  • Demonstrate positive and nurturing attitude working with children and young adults.
  • Maintain and promote high expectations for self and students.
  • Observe, reflect upon, and gradually implement appropriate techniques for classroom management.
  • Use good judgment in handling classroom emergencies or problematic student interactions.
  • Participate as a member of a team both within and external to the classroom (e.g., faculty meetings, Child Study Team meetings, professional development workshops, grade-level meetings, parent conferences).
  • Assess student's progress on a short and long-term basis.
  • Visit another teacher who is teaching the same or a similar area, if possible.


A clinical supervisor will visit at least three times during the semester to meet as a triad and observe a minimum of two lessons and talk with the teacher candidate.  (See specific program requirements within departments.)  The clinical supervisor will discuss the teacher candidate’s progress with the clinical educator.  Both the clinical supervisor and the clinical educator must submit a final report about the extent to which the teacher candidate has fulfilled clinical experience expectations.


The aforementioned information is a guide for the teacher candidate, clinical educator, and clinical supervisor.  The clinical supervisor may not necessarily observe all of these behaviors.




As a clinical experience teacher candidate, you are both a discoverer and a learner.  You are discovering whether or not you like teaching, and you are learning some things about public schools you may not have realized before.  Here is a checklist of suggestions to assist you during your clinical experience experience.



____    Read this entire booklet, including parts labeled for the clinical educator and the clinical

____    Evaluate your personal appearance -- is it in accordance with the standards for teachers in the
          school and community?  If you are not sure, dress conservatively.

____    Review what you know about child or adolescent psychology.

____    Get to know your clinical supervisor.

____    Locate the school assigned and determine commuting time.

____    Contact your school and cooperating teacher.  Identify the time you are expected to arrive and the procedures to be followed on arrival.


____    Arrive at the school early, reporting first to the school office.  Introduce yourself to the front office staff who you are and ask for
             assistance in getting to your Clinical Educator’s classroom.

____    Introduce yourself to the clinical educator, giving him or her a copy of the Introduction booklet.

____    Introduce yourself to the school principal and other staff members.

____    Observe the students in your assigned class and begin to learn their names.


____    Engage in co-planning and co-teaching with your clinical educator.  Use the Co-teaching
            guide, found in this handbook.

____    Prepare for teaching assignments with written lesson plans using the WP lesson plan templates.

____    Attend regularly.  (You are expected to be regular in attendance except when prevented by illness or other
            unavoidable circumstances.  You are allowed one unavoidable absence).

____    Notify both the clinical educator and the clinical supervisor of absences or delays in getting to school.

____    Dress and groom yourself in accordance with the standards of the school.

____    Arrive early and stay until the teacher's departing time.

____    Use tact and courtesy in dealing with teachers, administrators, school personnel, and custodians.

____    Observe the clinical educator to learn new ideas.

____    Keep a weekly Contextual Factors Journal.

____    Carry out tasks assigned by the clinical educator.

____    Relate this experience to methods classes and vice versa.

____    If something goes wrong, ask the clinical educator and/or clinical supervisor for help or advice without delay.

____    If you tend to disagree with school policy or the teacher, obtain information before drawing conclusions.

____    Follow the clinical educator's calendar.  However, clinical experience teacher candidates will observe
             WP’s spring break and need not attend clinical experience that week.


____    Seek and accept constructive criticism and suggestions.

____    Reflect on your own behavior to improve your performance.

____    Ask the clinical educator for a detailed conference and evaluation at the end of the semester.

____    Complete the Teacher Candidate Evaluation of the Clinical Experience form at the end of the semester, and return it to the Office of Field Experiences.

____    Ask yourself, "Do I really want to become a teacher?"


____    Return any materials/books that belong to the clinical educator or the school.

____    Ask your clinical educator if he/she can recommend you when you begin to develop
           your portfolio and resume.

____    Submit all required reports by the final seminar meeting.