The University of North Georgia (UNG) College of Education is committed to serving the children, families and schools of North Georgia by preparing compassionate, knowledgeable highly effective teachers. In addition to academic rigor, a distinctive characteristic of teacher preparation at the University of North Georgia is commitment to providing long and intensive levels of clinical experience in public school classrooms prior to internship. Research on teacher preparation indicates the amount of supervised clinical experience a teacher candidate receives is predictive of their success in the classroom as well as their retention in the profession. This type of program is often referred to as a “medical model” of teacher preparation, whereby program candidates experience a great deal of training in residencies in public schools. UNG College of Education graduates are highly regarded by regional school districts as a result of this focus on extended classroom experience. Teacher candidates in the College of Education must meet criteria for highly effective practice as a program requirement.
The College of Education places several hundred prospective teachers in schools in the region each term. It is necessary to utilize schools that may be a distance from campus. Since students in College of Education programs require several terms of placements we work to ensure that at least some of their experiences in schools are relatively close to their residence. In addition to distance, placements are also governed by state and national certification and accreditation requirements as well as the preferences of each school in terms of number and types of placements that they wish to allow.
The College of Education has contractual agreements with designated school systems for placement of teacher candidates. Each site has its own deadlines, procedures, and requirements. Students must not attempt to arrange their own placements or supervision. Students can not be placed in any school they have attended in the last seven years or in which they have children or family members enrolled or employed. Assignments for field experiences are made within commuting distance from the student’s residence when possible. The goal is to place students within 65 miles of their residence, provided the placement is within one of the specified PDC (Professional Development Communities) schools, is not restricted by site availability or the availability of a university supervisor. The 65 miles cannot be guaranteed and may be higher. Students must understand as part of the College of Education, they are responsible for managing your commute and to be mindful of the time involved traveling to and from the placement school. Due to the high number of students in the College of Education, students do not have a choice in their placement schools and must be placed in a school designated as a Professional Development School (PDS). Students are expected to fulfill their field experience where assigned. Changes in placements are not allowed without medical documentation or a childcare emergency.
During internships, UNG teacher candidates will be expected to assume all of the responsibilities of a full time teacher and, therefore, should not be employed elsewhere. UNG teacher candidates can only be placed in schools that have attained accreditation from agencies recognized by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
We attempt to meet the needs of our students however, barring extreme circumstances, student requests for changes in placements are not made until all students have received placements, and only considered in cases of significant hardship. For medical cases, documentation is required. Gasoline costs can be difficult to manage, however multiple students most often are placed in each school thereby permitting cost effective car-pooling. Students are encouraged to avail themselves of this strategy. Teacher candidates are also required by school systems to have up-to-date background checks. This process is arranged by the College of Education Field Placement Office and has associated fees. Teacher candidates are required to have current professional liability insurance. This is available inexpensively through several professional organizations.
In all activities College of Education faculty model and engage students in a community of collaboration, professionalism, intellectual curiosity and commitment to service. University of North Georgia teacher education programs are designed to create environments that support professional development, personal growth and academic excellence in the context of service to our students, colleagues, institution, community and discipline. Teaching, research, program, and course and professional development are most often conducted in collaborative, creative and inclusive groups of peers that celebrate innovation, problem-solving and openness to discussion. Teacher candidates in the UNG College of Education are expected to model professional and personal integrity, communication skills, passion for teaching, and collaborative support and care for the community that we hope to inculcate in the children served by our partner schools.
See description of Early Childhood Special Education model - Professional Development Communities