Clinical Practice

Common Questions

Below are some answers to questions that may arise during your practicum experience:

I emailed my clinical educator and I haven’t heard back from her/him. What should I do?

  • Call the school and explain who you are and why you are calling. Leave a message for your clinical educator with the front office that includes the day and time you intend to visit. It is okay to go to the school on the day of your planned first visit if you have done both of these things and haven’t heard back from the clinical educator. 

I went to my first visit at my assigned school and they were not expecting me and did not know that I was doing a practicum at the school. What should I do?

  • First contact your URI instructor. Your instructor will then contact the OCPP if necessary.

I can’t reach my teacher and I am sick. What should I do?

  • Early and consistent communication is the best way to go. On your first visit, you should have asked your teacher how they prefer to receive communication. Use this method to let your teacher know that you will not attend because you are sick. Also call the school’s front office and leave a message for your teacher that you will not be in class that day.
  • Your teacher will understand if you are sick once or twice and are diligent about communicating. However, if you call in sick often and do not let him/her know, your teacher is going to be unsympathetic and will likely ask that you not come back to the classroom anymore. If this happens, speak with your instructor immediately. Depending on the circumstances, you may not be allowed another placement and might earn a ‘U’ for the course.

My classroom teacher is doing something that is against my understanding of good education. Can I say something to them or tell the principal?

  • NO. As a guest in the classroom, it is not your place to notify the teacher or the principal of your opinions. If you have witnessed something truly egregious or dangerous, please notify your instructor immediately. There are a variety of reasons why a teacher may make a particular decision while teaching; we are not always privy to these decisions.

I don’t agree with the school’s policies. How can I get them changed?

  • YOU CANNOT. As a guest in the school, it is your responsibility to abide by all school, district and classroom policies. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • Reflect on the policy in question and explore the purpose that it serves in your school’s community. Trying to figure out the larger reason for the policy might help it make sense to you.
  • Discuss your concern with the policy with your URI class.

My classroom teacher does not ask me to do anything, just sit in the back of the room and observe. What if I want to do more?

  • Of course, there will be days where you must observe the classroom as the teacher is teaching or there is something going on. On these days, observe the teacher and notice: teaching strategies, behavior management, questioning techniques, use of technology, etc.
  • If your teacher is not giving you any opportunities to engage with students, suggest some possible activities that might fit in with what the classroom needs. Speak with your instructor to see if they has any ideas for you.

My classroom teacher often leaves the classroom while I am there, leaving me alone with the entire class.

  • URI teacher candidates are never to be left alone with students. There should always be another adult, someone who represents the school, in the room with you.
  • In a professional and respectful manner, remind the classroom teacher that you are not supposed to be in the classroom alone with students. All classroom teachers already know this.
  • Notify your instructor immediately.