Field experience is a vital part of the journey to becoming a teacher. You'll get real-world teaching experience while also getting to observe a teacher's techniques and strategies. The sixteen weeks you'll spend on site will help evolve you as an educator.

Important Dates

  • Application opens: Students will receive an email with a link to the application the first week of December 2023.
  • It is highly recommended that you apply for a substitute certificate by December 18, 2023, to receive it in time to submit by the upload deadline. DESE can take up to 6 weeks to process the substitute certificate application.
  • Deadline to submit an application form: January 22, 2024 (midnight)
  • Deadline for submitting documents: February 12, 2024 (midnight)
  • Deadline to pass the required MoCA exam(s): July 1, 2024
  • If you miss a deadline, you will be ineligible to student teach.

Student Teaching Zones

  1. St. Louis Zone: A 30-mile radius from the Interstate 270/255 bridge to Illinois, including Belleville, Collinsville, and Edwardsville
  2. Farmington Zone: A 30-mile radius from Farmington High School
  3. Cape Girardeau Zone: A 30-mile radius from the Cape Girardeau campus including Anna and Cobden
  4. Sikeston Zone: A 30-mile radius from the Sikeston campus, with the Mississippi River as the Eastern boundary
  5. Kennett Zone: A 30-mile radius from the Kennett campus, including Paragould and Blytheville
  6. Poplar Bluff Zone: A 30-mile radius from Poplar Bluff High School

 map of student teaching zones with circles around St Louis, Farmington, Cape Girardeau, Sikeston, Kennett and Poplar Bluff

In order to begin the Student Teaching Placement Process, you must:

  • Meet all course-related qualifications for your degree (may include courses in which you are currently enrolled)
  • No other courses may be taken with the student teaching courses unless officially approved by the Field Director and the Associate Dean. Contact Alicia Lincoln at to make this request.
  • Have the required professional education content 3.0 GPA and required content 3.0 GPA
  • Have a valid Missouri Background Check on file with the Southeast Missouri State Teacher Preparation Program
  • Have and submit with other documents a Missouri Substitute Certificate
  • Complete the application and upload all required documents (outlined further on this site)
    • Substitute Teaching Certificate
    • Proof of Professional Liability Insurance
    • Introduction Letter
    • Philosophy of Education
    • Degree Audit
    • TB Test (less than a year old)
    • Resume
    • 3 Letter of Recommendation (St. Louis placements only)

If you do NOT do each of the above, your information will NOT be submitted for a student teaching placement.

Reminder: You must have provided evidence of having passed all MOCA required for your certification area(s) at least one month prior to student teaching to be eligible to student teach.

Students will be emailed the link to apply for student teaching. Once an application has been submitted, students will be emailed a link to upload their required documents.

If a student fails to meet any of the criteria for approval into the student teaching program, they have a right to appeal to the Associate Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies. A student must fill out a  formal student teaching appeal and submit it to

Student appeals are due at the time of application for student teaching, or immediately following failure to maintain the standards for student teaching after initial approval for a placement. No appeals will be accepted to enroll in EX390 concurrent with student teaching.

If you do not already have a sub certificate, follow these instructions. Take note of the following:
  • Apply for your substitute certificate immediately. It may take several weeks to process. 
  • In order to obtain a substitute certificate, you complete a fingerprint background check specifically for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). You cannot use the background check results that you have sent to Southeast Missouri State University. (DESE is a different entity and, therefore, requires its own Fingerprinting Background Check.) The DESE code for fingerprinting is 2301. DO NOT USE THE SOUTHEAST CODE. Follow these instructions for your substitute teaching certificate background check. 
  • Order transcripts through the Registrar's office
    • Click on “” or “National Student Clearinghouse” toward the middle of the page
    • Click on “Go here” at the top of the page next to STUDENTS & ALUMNI…
    • Click on “Order a Transcript” under “Transcripts”
    • Type “Southeast Missouri State University” in the box under “Select School” and click on it
    • Click “Continue”
    • Click “Order Transcript(s)” at the bottom of the page
    • Enter your personal information
    • Click “Continue”
    • Enter the rest of your personal information
    • Click “Continue”
    • Use the drop-down box under “Recipient” to choose “Education Organization, Application Service, Scholarship, and Professional Licensing
    • Use the drop-down box under “Select Organization” to choose “Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education”
    • Use the next drop-down box under “Department” to choose “Educator Certification”
    • Choose “Current Transcript – Process As Is” under “When do you want your transcript processed?”
    • Choose “Certification/Licensure” under “Why are you ordering your transcript?”
    • The Delivery Information should say “Electronic” and “1 copy = $15.00”
    • Click “Yes” to accept the terms
    • Click “Continue”
    • Click “Checkout” and follow the remaining directions/steps to order your transcript
  • Check your DESE profile periodically for confirmation that your sub certificate has been issued. 
If you have any questions concerning applying for a sub certificate, contact DESE.

If you do not have professional liability insurance, one option is the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA). You can join Student MSTA to receive free professional liability insurance.

This is an opportunity to introduce yourself and provide some information that might help the administrator or teacher who is reading it make a decision. If it is poorly written, this may be the only document that is read. You need to sell yourself here. Also, this is where you can provide some context for potentially damaging details (e.g. that low-GPA semester during which you had mono.) Limit the letter to one page.

Take a look at these examples to help get you started.

Describe your philosophy of education in a one-page document. Consider having the Center for Writing Excellence review this for you since it will be sent to schools with the rest of your application packet.

Here's an example to give you an idea of what a philosophy of education might look like.

  • Check your Degree Audit to make sure all courses are met before saving. If not, contact your advisor ASAP.
    • Use the "Save as PDF" button at the top of your DegreeWorks page

Need help? We have an instructional sheet and a video to help you through the process.

  • All teacher candidates must have the results of a current (completed within the last 12 months) TB test on file. You can get a TB test at the Campus Health Clinic, your personal physician’s office, or your home country's health service. Once you receive your results, scan them and upload them. 
    • Please note, the TB test takes 3 days to process and requires two visits to the clinic.

Consider having Career Services review your resume since it will be sent to schools with the rest of your application packet. Try to limit it to one page, but two pages are acceptable if there are relevant experiences that need to be included.

We've included two resume examples to help you craft yours.

If you are student teaching in St. Louis, three letters of recommendation are required. All three letters must be combined into one file to be submitted.

Students will be emailed a link to upload documents once they have filled out the student teaching application. The following documents are required to be uploaded by the deadline. Documents must be in a PDF format:

  • Substitute Teaching Certificate
  • Proof of Professional Liability Insurance
  • Introduction Letter
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Degree Audit
  • TB Test
  • Resume
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation combined into 1 PDF document (St. Louis placements only)

You must pass all required Missouri Content Assessment (MOCA) exams by the deadline given in the “Important Dates” section.

For more information on what tests you need to take, please refer to the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments to find out what assessments are required for your specialty area.

We also have information on alternative testing arrangements/accommodations.

Ensure that your Southeast background check will cover you throughout the student teaching semester. In order to be eligible to student teach, you must have a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP)/ Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) background check on file.  (Most students obtained this background check for their previous field courses.) 

  • If your Southeast background check is not approved, please email the Candidate Status and Certification officer at 

Placements: All placements are made by the Office of Field Experiences. Students are NOT to contact the schools for placement information.

If the Office of Field Experiences is unable to place you in your top two district choices listed on the application, you will be placed in a district within a 30-45 minute radius of the address you listed on your application. 

  • Family: If you have immediate family working in a school within a district you put on your application, notify While you can be placed in the same district, you cannot be placed in the same school building.
  • Additional Classes: Additional classes during student teaching are not permitted without permission from the Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services. (This does not include EF400 or CL004)
  • To appeal to take classes during student teaching, email a formal letter explaining the need by the date on the Application Packet to
  • Substitute Teaching: During student teaching, you are a student of Southeast Missouri State University, not an employee of the school district. If your mentor teacher cannot be at school, the district should get a substitute for the classroom. 
  • Working: While keeping a personal job may be necessary, it is advised that you take a break from your job during student teaching if you can. Student teaching requires at least the same number of hours as a full-time job.

You also cannot get paid for any job at the school you are placed in during regular school hours.

Candidates are expected to contact their Mentor teacher the same week they get the placement information. Mentor teachers are expecting this.

Candidates should introduce themselves and inquire as to when the Mentor teacher would like the candidate to begin their teaching experience in the next semester.

  • Candidates need to make sure the Mentor teachers are aware of the Triad Seminar and make arrangements to meet and sit together at this meeting.
  • If the teacher candidate starts early, they are still expected to be in the classroom for the entire 16-week semester according to the university calendar. (University supervisors will not begin supervising until the official start of the semester, therefore your time will not officially start until that time.) Candidates can, however, use that time in case an emergency occurs during the semester that requires them to be absent (a valid excuse must be used in these cases — see handbook).

If you want to be placed outside of the regional area where we place teacher candidates, you will have to meet one of the following criteria: 

  • The candidate is married before the student teaching semester begins and the spouse is required to live outside the area for employment, military commitment, or to continue enrollment in a university outside the service area. 
  • A hardship exists due to a serious, long-term illness of a member of the immediate family, requiring the candidate to relocate immediately. 
  • Another documented hardship exists as determined by the Director of Field and Clinical Experiences. 

Failure to meet these criteria will result in a denial of the request for a courtesy placement.

There is an additional charge of $1,800 for a courtesy placement.

Triad Seminar 

  • Teacher candidates, Mentor teachers, and university supervisors will participate in the Triad Seminar which will include team-building activities as well as obtaining the same message of all expectations in the same setting. 
  • Two meetings will be offered each semester (attendance to only one is required): St. Louis and Cape Girardeau

For questions about the application process or eligibility for student teaching, contact Alicia Lincoln at

For questions about placements or student teaching policies, contact the Field Experiences Office at

  • School districts can be very complex entities.
  • School districts have the right to deny or end a placement at any time and for any reason.
  • School districts view students who seek their own placements as unwilling to follow procedures which is viewed as unprofessional.
  • School districts are governed by policies and procedures. They must follow these policies and procedures which are set by local boards of education, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and/or the Missouri Legislature.
  • School districts may not be able to provide the student teacher with certain pieces/types of information. (FERPA)
  • Many school districts function with limited staff in the months of June and July. If student teaching is scheduled in the fall semester, you may not be able to reach district personnel until closer to the beginning of the new school year.
  • A fiscal (financial year) runs from July 1 – June 30. This means that the district focus for the month of June is often spent on filling vacancies and completing the budgetary concerns of the current year.
  • If a student is offered employment with a school district, while the Field Office needs to be made aware of the situation, negotiations, and questions concerning the employment are between the individual and the school district.
  • Considering the increased teacher shortage school districts may reach out to a student. Please be aware that the Field Office must be consulted before any action is taken. This is not to block any student's path, but to assure that all requirements and the correct path for certification remain are followed.
  • Signing a contract with a school district is a legally binding agreement. If a student chooses to sign a contract, they are bound by the terms of the contract. (Once a contract is signed a student may not simply “change their mind”)
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