Clinical Practice General Information

Requirements for Clinical Practice

The clinical practice experience is a ten credit hours field experience for a full semester term in a selected classroom setting and is the last semester of your education program.

A two credit hours seminar is scheduled concurrently with the clinical practice experience. The first seminar meeting is an orientation to the clinical practice experience which includes a review of the clinical practice handbook and a discussion of the expectations for each participant in this experience—teacher candidate, mentor teacher, and university supervisor. An application for your Georgia teaching certificate is also completed at this meeting. Seminars, in addition to this orientation, will be scheduled by your department during the clinical practice experience.

A teacher candidate who receives a grade of Unsatisfactory (U) for clinical practice may apply for clinical practice only one additional time. The teacher candidate will be required to complete a prescribed program of remediation before being permitted to student teach the second time. Any teacher candidate who receives a second grade of “U” for clinical practice will be permanently dismissed from all teacher education programs in the Dewar College of Education and Human Services and will not be recommended for teacher certification by Valdosta State University.

Clinical Practice Application and Placement Information

1. The clinical practice application is available on the College of Education website on the first day of fall and spring semesters. The completed application must be returned to the Office of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice (FECP) by the deadline listed on the application. Failure to return the application by the deadline may result in a term's delay in your student teaching.

2. To participate in clinical practice, you must have met all teacher education admission requirements, completed all required coursework leading up to clinical practice, and maintained a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 (3.0 - COMD majors; 2.75 for Art Ed; 2.75 for Early Childhood Ed).

3. Each department works in collaboration with the FECP office to determine the placements for all teacher candidates. The Dewar College of Education and Human Services has cooperating partner school agreements with a number of schools in the following systems: Lowndes County Schools, Valdosta City Schools, Brooks County Schools, Cook County Schools, and Echols County Schools. To the extent possible, attempts are made to place as many teacher candidates as possible in these schools.

COE Regulations Regarding Clinical Practice

Once placements are made, they will not be changed without permission of the Director of FECP.
Teacher candidates will be placed in a site appropriate for their certification area. However, teacher candidates are not assured of any particular school, any particular teacher in a school, or any particular grade level--nor may teacher candidates request a particular school, teacher, or grade level.

  • Students are not to contact individual schools, school systems, teachers, and/or administrators about their clinical practice placement. Violation of this will result in the contacted site being removed as a placement possibility.
  • If you refuse a placement once it is made, you will not be placed at another site; and your clinical practice experience will be delayed a semester.
  • Once placements are made, they will be posted on the COE website at (http://education.valdosta.edu/placements.htm), and you will receive an email from the FECP office confirming your placement. The COE website is updated, and placement emails are sent to all teacher candidates as quickly as confirmations are received from the school systems; this process takes several weeks—so please be patient. Confirmation emails are not all sent at the same time. Please do NOT contact the FECP office to inquire about your clinical practice placement. Keep checking the COE website.  Most confirmations should be posted by mid-July.
  • You may not student teach in: (1) A school from which you graduated within the last seven years, (2) A school where you have family members employed or enrolled, (3) A school in which you have worked as a paraprofessional, or (4) A system in which you have family members employed in the system office in an administrative capacity or on the board of education.
  • You are not permitted to take undergraduate coursework (besides seminar) during the clinical practice experience.
  • Generally, student teachers will be placed within a 60-mile radius of VSU.
  • Student teaching is not allowed in the summer.
  • The Dewar College of Education and Human Services reserves the right to refuse to place a teacher candidate in any particular school or within any particular school system. Every effort is made to place all teacher candidates in their preferred systems; however, the Dewar College of Education and Human Services reserves the right to make all final decisions about clinical practice placements.
  • If there are extenuating circumstances which affect your clinical practice placement, please discuss these special needs or concerns with your department head and the Director of FECP. If these circumstances may impact your clinical practice placement, a letter explaining them must be attached to your clinical practice application.

4. A teacher candidate will be placed outside the VSU service area only under extreme extenuating circumstances. If a special placement site is needed outside the VSU service area, the teacher candidate must complete a "Courtesy Placement Request" form (available on the FECP web-page) explaining this special need and requesting approval. Examples of valid reasons to request a courtesy placement include: when a spouse is unexpectedly transferred outside the VSU service area, illness in family, etc. Examples of invalid reasons to request a courtesy placement include: to save money, be near or in my hometown, marriage plans, possible job opportunities, etc. The "Courtesy Placement Request" form must be submitted for approval to the department head of the teacher candidate’s major department and forwarded to the Director of FECP.  Special placements outside the VSU service area will require additional costs to the teacher candidate. Courtesy placements will be made only if appropriate in-field supervision can be obtained for the teacher candidate. Additionally, teacher candidates requesting a courtesy clinical practice placement must have demonstrated excellence in both their academic classes and field experiences. Generally, teacher candidates with overall GPAs of less than 3.0 will not be considered for a courtesy placement.

5. All teacher candidates are required to have professional liability insurance. Please contact Becky Wetherington at (229) 249-2778 if you need this insurance. Please make sure that your coverage is up-to-date.

6. Students with special needs must document them with the Special Services Program and inform their college supervisor and mentor teacher of those needs.

All questions and concerns may be directed to the Office of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice, COE Dewar of Education and Human Services, Suite 2030, 229-333-7834.

Mrs. Jamie Bird, Director of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice, (229) 249-2779 jbird@valdosta.edu.

Mrs. Sophi Stevens, Educational Support Specialist--Field Placements, (229) 333-7834, sdsteven@valdosta.edu.

Mrs. Becky Wetherington, Educational Support Specialist--Clinical Practice, (229) 249-2778, rjwetherington@valdosta.edu.