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Urban Education: Student Teaching in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


First established in the early 1960s, the ACM Urban Education Program has had a long tradition of engagement with Chicago schools and the city’s education community.  ACM student teachers in Chicago are among the best-equipped new professionals entering the field of education, and they join an extensive network of ACM alumni in the city’s schools and education-related organizations.

Recommended credit for the program is 16 semester credits or the equivalent.  Students should consult their advisors about the amount and distribution of credit before enrolling in the program.  The curriculum for the semester-long student teaching experience with the Urban Education program is as follows:

Student Teaching  

Required, 12 semester credits

Student teachers are placed in Chicago school classrooms with carefully-selected mentors and supervisors, where they fulfill all requirements for the final practicum stage of their teacher certification program.

Student Teaching Seminar

Required, 4 semester credits

Click here to see a course syllabus

In the weekly student teaching seminar course, students reflect on cross-cultural history and educational theory in the context of their day-to-day lives in the classroom. Small-group resource sessions provide additional opportunities for students to discuss issues and questions about teaching, and to receive peer feedback about their practice.

Professional Portfolio or edTPA

Each student conducts an inquiry into his/her own development as a teacher and completes all the requirements for a compelling Professional Portfolio.  For students whose home campus requires them to complete edTPA, the group will have focused sessions on completing the process. 

Community Engagement   

Student teachers participate in all activities at their placement schools, including faculty and parent meetings, in-service workshops, and school-related community meetings.  In addition, the Urban Education staff arrange for various activities outside of the classroom to allow students to experience different aspects of living in the city.  Activities from recent semesters have included:

  • Field Museum Educator Night
  • Second City - "What the Tour Guides Don't Tell You"
  • National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen
  • Chicago River Architecture Tour
  • Pizza and Movie/Game Night with Chicago-based students
  • Midterm dinner in Uptown
  • Field Museum Educator Night
  • Chicago History Museum – Educator Workshop – “The Field Trip Objective Workshop”
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – Teacher Tour
  • Chicago Cubs Game
  • Jane Addams Hull House Museum Tour and Facilitated Dialogue 
  • Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Sponsored Professional Development Seminars

Urban Education: Student Teaching in Chicago

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Becky Provencher I am glad that I did the ACM Urban Education Program, because it helped to prepare me for teaching in an urban school. I know that after I did my student teaching in Chicago, I was ready to teach anywhere, but it would have been a very difficult transition for me to go from doing my student teaching in a small town to teaching in Chicago. I was placed in a progressive, bilingual school for my student teaching, where I am still teaching today. I was well-supported by the Urban Ed staff throughout my student teaching, with frequent observations and feedback, opportunities to problem solve with other student teachers and my supervisor, and seminars/workshops with experts in the field. I am still in contact with a number of Urban Ed alums (both personally and professionally), many of whom didn't student teach at the same time as me.

—Becky Provencher, Urban Education, Spring 2004, Kindergarten teacher at Telpochcalli Elementary School

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