College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Field experiences are an integral part of the teacher education preparation program. They are designed to give students guided and controlled experiences with professionals in the elementary and secondary schools.

Most classes offered within the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) require students to complete field experience assignments, including but not limited to: observation, small group interaction, case studies, and direct teaching. Field experience is integrated into course assignments and the requirements and number of hours can vary by course and program.

The Educator Preparation Office (EPO) is responsible for tracking all field experience completed by students enrolled in CEHD courses. For students who are not full-time teachers and who need to complete field experience, the Clinical Practice Specialist (CPS) coordinates placements with local school districts and ensures that students have completed the necessary background check/fingerprinting process in order to be eligible for placement.

View the Distance Placement Guidelines for Field Experience and Internships — for those to whom this is applicable.

Field Experience Placement Process

  1. All students must submit the Online Field Experience Registration each semester they are participating in field experience. The deadline for fall placements is September 15th and the deadline for spring placements is February 15th. (This excludes classes that begin mid-semester. In these cases, additional guidance will be provided by your instructor).
    • You may only submit the online request form one time a semester, so please include all classes you are taking that require field experience.
    • Review your form carefully before submitting it. Ensure all information, including your Mason email address, is correct. If you need update your information after submitting your form, please contact the CPS at fieldexp@gmu.edu.
    • Keep your automatic email confirmation for your own records. If you need to cancel your field experience request, you must notify the CPS right away at fieldexp@gmu.edu.

    Field Experience Reminders

    1. All placements will be arranged by the Educator Preparation Office unless you are a full-time contractual teacher and you have permission from your administrator and professor to complete field experience in your own classroom.
    2. Students requesting placement should not contact local schools (public or private) or otherwise solicit field experience placements from educators they may know professionally.
    3. Field experience assignments will only be accepted for credit if the work has been done in an assigned or approved location.
    4. Repeated attempts to contact local schools, educators, or administrators to solicit field experience placements may result in GMU and/or local school divisions not permitting access to school sites for field experiences.

  2. In most cases, local school systems require students who have requested placement to complete fingerprinting and a criminal background check through their human resources office (not George Mason University) prior to being eligible for field experience placement.
    • If you requested to be placed by the CPS, please monitor your Mason email, including junk mail folder, for information on how to complete the background check process.
    • When completing background check paperwork, please include even the most minor infractions that may appear on your record. Failure to do so, whether such incidents resulted in conviction, may result in the delay or denial of field experience placement. Fully half of all placement denials are the result of failure to disclose issues that would otherwise not have blocked a student’s placement.
  3. Once you have completed all of the background requirements, contact the Clinical Practice Specialist in order to receive your placement details.
    • All field experience locations are final.
    • Contact the host teacher or field experience contact right away. If you delay, it may result in the termination of your placement.
  4. When completing your field experience, please remember your professional dispositions.
    • Schedule visits with your host teacher for mutually agreeable times. Please be mindful of your host teacher’s schedule - do not show up unannounced.
  5. Document completion of your field experience as noted in your syllabus and turn your log of hours form into your instructor.
    • Field Experience Documentation Form
    • Logs are not turned into the Educator Preparation Office. If you have any questions about how to document your field experience, please contact your instructor.

Questions about the field experience process should be directed to the Clinical Practice Specialist at fieldexp@gmu.edu