Student teaching is very time intensive. To prepare, it helps to know how long you’ll be busy doing it. So how long is student teaching? The length of student teaching can actually vary a lot. Student teaching duration depends both on the standards of your state and your teacher training program.
How long is student teaching? Usually 3-4 months.
In most cases, student teaching will last between 3 and 4 months. This duration is preferred by states and teacher training programs for a number of reasons.
For one thing, a period of 12-16 weeks lines up fairly well with a university semester schedule. This makes it easier for teacher colleges to treat student teaching as a graded semester class.
Additionally, three months is long enough to cover at least one full academic quarter in a K-12 school. This gives student teachers an opportunity to issue grades on report cards– an important aspect of teaching.
There are certainly some states that require shorter student teaching periods–durations of as little as 8, 9, or 10 weeks are sometimes permitted. However, even in those cases, it’s very likely that your school or training program will still require a full 12-16 weeks.
Individual K-12 schools also prefer a student teacher who can commit for at lest a quarter. A shorter time period makes it hard for student teachers to build a good working relationship with their students and co-workers.
Longer student teaching periods
Schools like longer student teaching assignments for another reason as well. Many schools use student teaching periods to find new teachers they’d like to hire. So for many schools, the longer they can try out a teacher, the better.
Some K-12 schools have been known to ask student teachers to commit for 6 months or even a year. Often universities will cooperate with local schools, requiring student teachers to work for however long a K-12 partner school wants them to.
“Split” Student Teaching Periods
Certain states and academic programs let their student teachers split their teaching period between a few different schools. Usually this means two periods with two different schools.
Split student teaching is primarily designed for people who are getting licensed to work with more than one age group. A student teacher with a split assignment may spend eight weeks at an elementary school, followed by eight weeks at a middle or high school.
In rarer instances, split student teaching involves field work in two different countries. The Consortium for Overseas Teaching (COST) is one program that lets student teachers study internationally. In programs like COST, generally 2 months of student teaching are completed in the USA, followed by two additional months of teaching in a foreign country. Participants will teach either ESL or other subjects at an English language foreign international school.
So How Long is Student Teaching for You?
The state you are getting your license in will set the minimum student teaching time for you. But your actual student teaching period is ultimately set and scheduled by the teacher training program you’re in. To know how long you’ll student teach for, check with your instructors or your academic adviser.