Texas Tech University

Update Regarding Student Teaching for Fall 2020: July 24, 2020

Dear Teacher Candidate,

Please read the following information carefully as it concerns the upcoming term and the impact on student teaching.

In regards to student teaching placements, modes of instruction are varied across the state and within each school district. The TechTeach program is preparing to be as flexible as possible, while still maintaining an outstanding, quality program that will ensure you are prepared to be the best prepared educator possible upon graduation. We want you to be fully prepared to teach while also remaining safe during the current situation. With that in mind, the following has been outlined by the College of Education:

Factors affecting face to face placement:

  • District instructional method. If the district where you are placed is holding face to face classes, you will be expected to participate in face to face teaching with the mentor teacher.
  • Shift of instructional method. If the district or campus where you are placed shifts to online, you will follow the method of teaching of your assigned mentor teacher.
  • Number of Mentor Teachers. The number of mentor teachers in face to face or virtual settings will vary by district. Therefore, placements will be made based on this information as it is received by districts.

Addressing your concerns:

  • Documented health condition. If you have a health condition that prevents you from student teaching face to face, it must be documented and you are required to register with TTU Student Disability Services (SDS). Information can be found at https://www.depts.ttu.edu/sds. Upon completion of that requirement, a report will be sent informing the instructor of each of your courses. Appropriate accommodations will then be made to ensure you are able to complete in a virtual placement.
  • Undocumented health condition. If you have a health condition that you feel will place you at risk while student teaching face to face, you will need to register with SDS (https://www.depts.ttu.edu/sds). If the requirements are met, the procedures above will be applied. If your condition does not meet the SDS guidelines, you will need to complete your clinical placement in a face to face setting. However, placements will be made in virtual settings to the extent possible in available classrooms.
  • General concern. If you do not have a health condition or if you have a health condition that is not eligible under SDS or you are concerned about participating in a face to face student teaching placement, student teaching placements will be made in virtual settings to the extent possible in available classrooms. If a virtual setting is not available and you do not want to complete student teaching face to face, then you may decide to delay your program. No penalty will be assessed by the TechTeach program and you will not be required to reapply to begin in Fall of 2021.

If you have one of the concerns listed above, please contact the Student Disability Services Office (https://www.depts.ttu.edu/sds). Please make contact as soon as possible to ensure timely processing of your request.

Guidelines for safety:

  • Please make sure to adhere to all rules and regulations of the State of Texas, the city in which you live as well as in your school district regarding COVID-19 to ensure you stay in compliance. All students are expected to follow all COVID-19 guidelines of the assigned district.
  • In accordance with the Educator Code of Ethics:
    • The educator shall comply with state regulations, written local school board policies, and other state and federal laws 1.7, and
    • The educator shall be of good moral character and be worthy to instruct or supervise the youth of this state. 1.10
  • If you become ill and think the symptoms might be COVID-19-related, please
    • Self-report as soon as possible using the COVID-19 Absence Form Report.
    • Upload your documentation from Student Wellness Center (SWC) or your medical provider to support your absence from class due to illness ("return to school" note, doctor note, patient verification, etc.) on the COVID-19 Absence Report form.
    • Contact your Site Coordinator to notify him/her of the situation within 24 hours.
    • Contact your Mentor Teacher to notify him/her of the situation.
    • Contact your instructors to notify them of your ability or inability to continue coursework.

Certification

  • In order to complete the program and certification requirements in the TechTeach Program, every teacher candidate must meet the technical and academic standards outlined by the program with or without accommodations.
  • The State of Texas has approved a waiver to allow virtual student teaching hours to count toward certification. The program will monitor hours to ensure each teacher candidate is eligible for certification.

Changing Situation

  • The teacher preparation program at Texas Tech is but one of many institutions affected by our current situation. Like all of the institutions, there are many, many factors to consider. We must consider the decisions and policies of the University and of each of the 32 school districts with which we partner in making decisions. As you watch the news, you are no doubt aware that many districts have not yet finalized their plans and there are even shifts in the guidance being offered by TEA because they are watching current events in hopes of finding some clear path forward. We have prepared this document in consultation with the Dean of Students, Student Disability Services, University administrators and districts given the most current information. However, as plans change across the state these plans may also change.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your Site Coordinator.

Thank you,

TechTeach Program