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Becoming a Teacher: Clinical Experiences

In 2018, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) implemented new Clinical Experiences Requirements for all state-approved teacher preparation programs to ensure that teacher candidates experience a clinically rich program of study that cohesively connects teacher preparation coursework to PK-12 students and schools. Teacher candidates, regardless of specialty area or grade range, must engage in a minimum of 600 hours of clinical experiences across the span of their Michigan preparation programs, including the culminating internship (i.e., student teaching). Michigan educator preparation institutions are expected to collaborate with PK-12 schools, districts, and public school academies to co-construct these clinical experiences in order to provide extended opportunities for teacher candidates to engage directly with students.

Additionally, MDE provides the following guidance on clinical experiences (e.g. directed teaching, supervised teaching, student teaching, teacher interns) to individuals seeking to become teachers.

Program Requirements

Administrative Rules R 390.1123

Michigan-approved programs are required to provide teacher candidates with supervised directed teaching opportunities that engage applicants in practical experiences that reflect and support the standards and related proficiencies for entry level teachers.

This experience must be for a minimum duration of 12-weeks and for a minimum of 6 semester credit hours, with 30 clock hours of classroom teaching and observation under the supervision of a teacher preparation institution being equivalent to 1 semester credit hour of supervised directed teaching.

The supervised directed teaching must be in the grade range and subject/content or discipline area for which the certificate is to be granted.

The Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) specify additional requirements for all special education endorsements. MARSE requires 8 weeks specific to each disability leading to a specialized endorsement area (e.g. Emotional Impairment, Visual Impairment).

Student Teachers and Grow-Your-Own Programs

Paying Student Teachers

MDE encourages PK-12 schools, districts, and public school academies to recognize teacher candidates in clinical experiences, particularly in the internship phase of their preparation, as a valuable resource to meet staffing needs. While local policies may vary, the Teacher Certification Code does not prohibit teacher candidates from being paid to serve as a substitute teacher or a teacher of record, although they would no longer be eligible to receive the MI Future Educator Stipend. Teacher candidates serving as a substitute teacher or teacher of record must qualify for the appropriate permit to satisfy the legal obligation of MCL 380.1233 for all teachers to possess a valid teaching certificate or substitute permit.

In fact, paying teacher interns as the teacher of record is encouraged as a recruitment strategy. All teacher candidates in the internship phase of preparation must receive the supports necessary to be successful, which, if the candidate is also serving as the teacher of record, includes legally required mentoring and induction activities.

Waiving Program Credit Requirements

In certain circumstances, the internship experience may be waived based on the joint recommendation of the superintendent of an employing district and an educator preparation institution in which the teacher candidate is enrolled. Administrative Rule 390.1123(1)(b)(iv) allows for this waiver for teacher candidates who either hold a master’s or higher degree and have 3 years of successful teaching at the appropriate level or have 5 years of successful teaching at the appropriate level.

Equality of Opportunity

Administrative Rules R 390.1111(2)

An applicant for certification who is otherwise qualified has the right to certification by the superintendent of public instruction, to receive training for the purpose of becoming a teacher, and to engage in supervised directed teaching in any school regardless of whether the applicant is a person with a disability. A school district or nonpublic school shall not refuse to engage a teacher who is a person with a disability on such grounds if the teacher is able to carry out the duties of the position for which the teacher applies.

Additional Information

For complete information on Michigan’s directed teaching, supervised teaching, teacher intern, or student teaching experiences review the Clinical Experience document.

If completing an out-of-state preparation program, please refer to MDE’s guidance on reciprocity for programs approved outside of the state of Michigan.