Frequently Asked Questions for MPS Student Teachers
WHY SHOULD I STUDENT TEACH IN THE MESA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT?
With over 64,000 students, Mesa Public Schools is nationally recognized and works with several colleges and universities to place over 300 student teachers throughout our district every year. Student teachers are carefully matched with highly skilled mentor teachers, who will co-teach with the individual to ensure a meaningful and enjoyable classroom experience.
HOW LONG WILL I BE STUDENT TEACHING?
The length of a student teaching assignment varies with every university or college, usually ranging from one semester to a full year.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE STUDENT TEACHING HANDBOOK?
Student teachers may obtain a handbook from their college or university's field experience office.
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT A RESUME TO STUDENT TEACH?
A resume is not required by Mesa Public Schools, however, we do encourage all student teachers to complete an employment application, which can be found on our website. Some building principals may require a resume to learn more about the student teachers assigned to their schools.
CAN I STUDENT TEACH AT A MESA PUBLIC SCHOOL THAT I ATTENDED AS A FORMER K-12 STUDENT OR WHERE ONE OF MY RELATIVES WORKS?
Whether or not you can be placed in such situation is subject to the building principal's approval with the college placement specialist.
SHOULD I COMMUNICATE WITH MY COOPERATING TEACHER PRIOR TO MY FIRST DAY OF STUDENT TEACHING?
Yes. It is strongly recommended that all student teachers contact their cooperating teachers prior to the first day of school. Staff phone numbers and/or emails can normally be found on each school's website.
IF I AM ALREADY ATTENDING A STUDENT TEACHING ORIENTATION WITH MY COLLEGE, DO I NEED TO ATTEND MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS STUDENT TEACHER ORIENTATION TOO?
Yes. All student teachers are required to attend Student Teaching Orientation, which is normally offered each semester by the Human Resources Department.
WILL THE PRINCIPAL OF THE SCHOOL OBSERVE ME IN THE CLASSROOM?
Principals are in each of their teacher's classrooms throughout the school year and it is possible that they will observe you student teaching. It is not uncommon for a student teacher to request an observation from the building principal or an assistant principal.
WHO ACTUALLY GRADES ME DURING MY STUDENT TEACHING ASSIGNMENT?
Grading is normally based on the formal evaluations from your college and the informal daily evaluations of your cooperating teacher.
WILL MY COOPERATING TEACHER HELP ME PLAN LESSONS OR WILL I BE ON MY OWN ALL OF THE TIME?
Co-teaching is the model of instruction used by MPS with their student teachers and your mentor is expected to work with you on every component involved with an effective lesson. Normally, you will be given an opportunity to take a leading role in the classroom and have some degree of autonomy.
HOW SOON WILL I TAKE OVER THE CLASS?
Generally, this is a gradual process determined through the communication of your cooperating teacher and your university/college supervisor.
CAN I TAKE PICTURES OR VIDEO TAPE THE STUDENTS WHEN I'M STUDENT TEACHING?
In most cases, you will not be allowed to take pictures or videos of students without their parent's consent. However, it is not uncommon for student teachers to videotape themselves giving a lesson, creating a bulletin boards, working on projects, performing experiments, etc. Most college and university programs usually provide a consent form to be used for the purpose of videotaping a lesson during a formal observation.
HOW INVOLVED WILL I BE IN THE STUDENT'S CURRICULUM?
You are expected to gain an understanding of the individual needs of every student in the classroom as well as the curricular requirements for the grade and/or subject area of which you are student teaching.
WHAT IS THE POLICY ON BEING ABSENT WHILE STUDENT TEACHING?
Most colleges and universities have an absence policy in place that can be found in their student teaching handbook. In the event that you need to be absent, student teachers are required to contact both their cooperating teacher and their college/university supervisor.
IS THERE A CHANCE THAT MY STUDENT TEACHING EXPERIENCE WILL HELP ME OBTAIN A FULL-TIME TEACHING POSITION WITH MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
All student teachers have the opportunity to make a positive impression on the students, parents, teachers, and principals, which can enhance their chances of future employment with MPS. Mesa Public Schools is always interested in great talent, and they have a rich history of hiring many of their student teachers.
HOW DO I GO ABOUT APPLYING FOR A POSITION WITH MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
At any time, you can visit the Mesa Public School website to complete an online application at mpsaz.org. Just click on "Job Opportunities" and you will be guided to a user-friendly application. Once you start your application, it can be changed or updated by you at any time. Normally, student teachers begin their application shortly following Student Teacher Orientation.
WHAT TYPE OF INFORMATION WILL MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS REQUIRE FROM ME TO BE A CANDIDATE FOR EMPLOYMENT?
In addition to a completed on-line application, you are required to provide a valid Arizona teaching certificate, evidence of highly qualified status (ie. AEPA, NES, or PRAXIS test results), copy of a valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card, transcripts, and three letters of reference with their phone numbers and emails.
IF I'M NOT A SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENT TEACHER BUT WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE EMPLOYMENT IN THIS AREA WITH MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
To learn more about Special Education certification, please visit http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/certificate-requirement/special-education/
CAN A PERSON BE A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER AND A STUDENT TEACHER AT THE SAME TIME?
No. However, Mesa Public Schools encourages all student teachers to apply for their substitute teaching certificate (Bachelor's Degree required) upon completion of their assignment.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CAN GIVE TO A NEW STUDENT TEACHER?
Read your school's employee and student handbooks
Dress professionally every day
Treat everyone with respect
Arrive at school earlier than is required
Stay after school if needed
Attend parent-teacher and faculty meetings
Take notes, build a portfolio
Establish a relationship with each child
Establish a relationship with your cooperating teacher
Establish a relationship with your principal
Review the curriculum
Ask for advice and constructive criticism