Professional Semester


The Professional Semester is the culmination of the teacher preparation process in that it offers the opportunity to bring theories and ideas developed about teaching into practice as teachers in actual classroom settings. The practice teaching experience involves assuming the responsibilities for creating a learning environment and constructing a learning experience for students.  This is accomplished through the Seminar in Education (TPP 401) and Practice Teaching (TPP 402).  For graduate students, the professional semester occurs following the completion of the graduate enrollment.

Seminar in Education (TPP 401)

The Seminar in Education is a full-semester course taken during the same semester as practice teaching.  The seminar allows students to consider issues in education and their impact on schools, to examine current philosophies and successful classroom practices, and explore instructional goals and rubrics appropriate for assessing student work. Practice teachers also will reflect on their experiences, examine the effectiveness of their work, and develop a philosophy of education.  The course assignments and requirements for the seminar are closely linked to the practice teaching experience.

Practice Teaching (TPP 402)

Practice Teaching is the culmination of the teacher preparation process in that it offers the opportunity to bring theories and ideas developed about teaching into practice as teachers in actual classroom settings. It is a full-time teaching commitment working with a cooperating teacher in an area school for 12 weeks (60 days). As the semester progresses, the student teacher gradually assumes the teaching responsibilities for the cooperating teacherís classes. A supervisor from the Program in Teacher Preparation works closely with both the cooperating teacher and student teacher during the entire practice teaching period. Formal and informal classroom observations are conducted regularly by both the cooperating teacher and the University supervisor. Among the requirements of practice teaching are the creation of plans for classroom management and literacy instruction, and the creation and delivery of an original unit of instruction.

I survived student teaching group photo

There are two formal evaluations of the student teacherís performance: an interim evaluation at the midpoint in the practice teaching period, and a final evaluation at the end. If at the time of the interim evaluation, a student teacherís performance is deemed inadequate vis-ŗ-vis the standards, the student teacher will be advised to extend the practice teaching period beyond 12 weeks. In that case, an individualized remedial plan to address those inadequacies is devised by the staff of the Program in Teacher Preparation.


Course Float Option: Undergraduate students in the Program in Teacher Preparation who plan to do their practice teaching during their senior year are required to "float a course" in a semester before their senior year, because no other course can be taken in the same semester with TPP 401 and TPP 402. (If 26 courses are completed before the beginning of the senior year, five courses plus the senior thesis may be taken in the senior year instead of the usual six.) Before taking the course float option, students must obtain the approval of the director of Teacher Prep and their residential college dean and work out the timing of their practice teaching with their Teacher Prep advisor.

Practice Teaching Option: The practice teaching option makes it possible for students to take the courses TPP 401 and TPP 402 in a semester after graduation (a ninth semester) or during one semester of a year's leave of absence between junior and senior years. It is highly recommended that students elect to do their practice teaching during a ninth semester so as to avoid conflicts with the many demands of the senior thesis and the requirements associated with the senior year. In fact, most students in the program do elect the practice teaching option. Any student wishing to obtain certification in more than one subject area is required to do so during a ninth semester. Students must find their own housing off campus during that semester. Financial aid is available for qualifying students (click on Financial Aid for more information), and additional information about the practice teaching option or financial aid can be obtained from the office of the Program in Teacher Preparation.


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Program in Teacher Preparation, 41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: (609) 258-3336 FAX: (609) 258-4527

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Contact TPP Web Administrator,  Last updated: 10/24/12