Internships provide students with an opportunity to put into practice what they are learning in their courses and to receive feedback on that practice from an experienced professional.
In the teaching and leadership fields, it is imperative that students as well as Mason faculty and administrators are confident in students' ability to put into practice the educational theory learned through their coursework. Regardless of whether or not a student has teaching experience, internship experiences are required components for any student completing the state-approved licensure programs.
Arrangement and completion of internship is a multi-step process. Students must make a plan for internship, apply in advance for placement and/or supervision, complete program test requirements if applicable, register for the internship course and fulfill internship requirements. To ensure college deadlines are met and to confirm eligibility of internship options, each student should review internship options early in his or her program and make an advising appointment to devise an individualized plan appropriate to the student's experiences and employment./
There are multiple options for meeting internship requirements:
- Placement internship — Students request a setting in which to complete an internship. Mason places students in internship settings in the summer semester as well as the spring and fall semesters. Summer placements are often arranged in local private schools.
- On-the-job internship - Students use their employment setting for the internship site. The on-the-job option allows interns to complete the internship experience while they work. To be eligible for an on-the-job internship, students must be working in a setting appropriate for their program and have permission and support of the building administrator. Students must be able to accumulate sufficient direct teaching hours and planning hours with students under the licensure area they seek. On the job interns identify a mentor teacher from their school to support them during the internship and a university supervisor is assigned to the intern by the university.
- Internship waiver — Students in graduate K-12 Special Education licensure programs may waive one of the two internship requirements providing they document two full academic or calendar years of successful, full-time teaching in a public or accredited private school working with students who fall under the licensure category they are pursuing. Experience must be as the teacher of record in the classroom; experience as a substitute teacher, instructional assistant or intern does not qualify. Students should refer to the internship waiver checklist to ensure they can provide the required documentation.
Internship application deadlines, instructions for applying and internship manuals with details of internship responsibilities and requirements are available at Student Internship.