Student teaching hours

Education program shifts to full year student teaching practicum

The education program at Walla Walla University has been altered due to the increase of student teaching hours required by the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

WWU’s education program previously included one quarter of student teaching during the spring of the students’ fourth year. Since the hours have increased from 250 to 450, the final year of the education major’s experience has shifted to meet these requirements. 

The WWU School of Education and Psychology has implemented a year-long teaching practicum to ensure the students meet the requirement. “Teacher candidates are placed in a district school mentor teacher classroom for fall and winter part time and spring quarter full time,” said Debbie Smart, executive secretary and certification officer for the School of Education and Psychology.

The increase of student teaching hours is beneficial to the education majors. “More time under the mentorship of a seasoned classroom teacher means more time to learn multiple strategies, work with a wider variety of student needs, and gain confidence in their own ability to teach and manage a classroom once they enter their career as a teacher,” said Debbie Muthersbaugh, professor of education and dean of the School of Education and Psychology. 

Students will experience a full year in the same classroom and will be able to participate in multiple class activities, such as academic fairs, field trips, and other extracurricular activities that their job will likely involve. “Teacher candidates also benefit from a loop of preparing and implementing lessons, supervisor and mentor feedback, and self-assessment during the year-long student teaching experience,” said Muthersbaugh. 

The increase of student teaching hours is valuable for the education majors and their future students as well. “Not only do positive attitudes towards themselves as teachers help in their own persistence, enthusiasm, and commitment to teaching, it also rubs off on students as well as they learn that with hard work and practice they too can overcome obstacles to their own learning success,” said Muthersbaugh. 

To learn more about studying education in the School of Education and Psychology at WWU, visit

Posted July 16, 2019

Female student teacher speaking with young elementary student
Education majors gain confidence in their ability to become a successful teacher after graduation due to their time student teaching.