Stay informed about Coronavirus — COVID-19. Learn more

¿No ve la función de traducción?
Educator Effectiveness

Student Teachers

Best Practices

  • Student teachers are essential, bringing benefits to your school/district: As your district plans for the 21-22 year, consider the incredible assets student teachers can bring to your return-to-school efforts. It is possible that the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term effects on the teacher workforce. Student teachers will help you build a strong, diverse pipeline for the future, while bringing value to your staff and students right now:
    • When it comes to your teacher pipeline, student teachers are more likely to:
      • Teach in your district after completing their program,
      • Be more effective than the average first year teacher due to the professional learning that results from their experiences teaching in your school district, and
      • Continue teaching in your district for a longer period of time than other new hires.
    • Studies suggest that the presence of a student teacher has a positive effect on student achievement and engagement.
    • Student teachers may introduce and strengthen culturally responsive and/or innovative approaches to teaching and learning, supporting improved student learning outcomes and experiences.
    • Student teachers can help meet some of the staffing challenges resulting from social distancing and other pandemic-related restrictions.
  • Use the Edwin Teacher Preparation Partnership Pipeline Report to learn more about the preparation providers currently providing student teachers and/or new hires for your district.

Spotlight on Racial Equity

The educator preparation pipeline in Massachusetts is much more racially diverse than the current workforce: in the 19-20 school year, 16.4% of candidates identified as people of color, compared to only 8.5% of the Commonwealth's teachers.

Research shows that educators of color have a wide range of positive effects on all students. In addition to building an antiracist work environment, prioritizing student teachers can be an important step toward diversifying your district’s teacher workforce.

COVID-19 Considerations

  • Partner with prep providers early to ensure student teachers will play a meaningful role in supporting the 21-22 year. As you plan for possible school models, work with prep providers to consider the role that teacher candidates might play in each scenario. Our Flexible Staffing Guide Download PDF Document provides guidance on how to leverage student teachers’ strengths in remote, hybrid, and in-person models.
  • Leverage student teachers to support your staff and students in the unique context of the 21-22 year.
    • As schools look to prioritize relationships and social-emotional support, student teachers provide an additional connection point for students, and support differentiation through the implementation of a variety of co-teaching models.
    • Student teachers can support students to deepen and extend their academic learning in small groups or 1:1 settings.
    • As another adult in the classroom, student teachers can help build strong family-school partnerships through frequent communication.
  • Use early candidates completing the pre-practicum to create more student support. Early candidates might:
    • Provide additional tutoring support. Ask prep faculty/supervisors to strategically support planning, assignments, and feedback.
    • Conduct re-entry screener assessments or diagnostics with students. This allows teachers to spend time understanding and acting on the data, rather than collecting it.
  • Facilitate virtual observations to support student teacher growth. Video observations of student teachers allow schools to leverage teacher candidates in a meaningful way to meet staffing needs, without having to allow additional faculty/supervisors into the school building. Video observations also provide an opportunity for student teachers to receive more frequent and meaningful feedback. Exceptions can and should be made to ‘no-video’ policies for the purpose of supporting teacher candidates in classrooms.

Questions to Consider

  • How can we leverage a more diversified student teacher population to increase the number of teachers of color who enter the workforce and are employed in our school/district?
  • How can student teachers support my school and district’s student and staff needs in the 21-22 year?
  • How can partnerships with prep programs support our district’s pipeline in years to come?
Additional Resources


For their contributions to this module, we’d like to thank the following individuals:

Dr. Des Floyd

Dr. Des Floyd, Director of Clinical Learning and Educator Development, High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning

Desiree Ivey

Desirée Ivey, Executive Director of Teacher Training, Shady Hill School


Goldhaber, Dan, John Krieg, and Roddy Theobald. "Exploring the Impact of Student Teaching Apprenticeships on Student Achievement and Mentor Teachers." CALDER Working Paper No. 207-1118-1, 2020.

Goldhaber, Dan, and Matthew Ronfeldt. "Sustaining Teacher Training in a Shifting Environment." EdResearch for Recovery, 2020.

Last Updated: April 5, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.