School of Educational Studies

Documentation of Classroom Experience

two teacher candidates working with a group of elementary students

Documentation of Classroom Experience

Applicants to UW Bothell's Elementary or Secondary Education teacher certification programs must document 20 hours of experience working with students in a public school classroom. This classroom experience requirement ensures that teacher certification applicants are not only familiar with modern United States classrooms, but that they are also prepared and excited to pursue a career in teaching. By completing 20 hours in a classroom, teacher certification applicants have the opportunity to explore which grade levels they may want to teach, ask experienced teachers questions about their career journey, and see the work of teaching and learning in action.

COVID-19 Admissions Update

Because many Washington school districts will start the 2020-21 school year with remote learning, the School of Educational Studies is waiving the 20 hours of classroom experience application requirement for all teacher certification programs for the 2020-21 application cycle. Elementary Education and Secondary & Middle Level certification applicants are instead encouraged to submit documentation of any experience with children or adolescents they may have had in the last two years, including classroom, youth programming, daycare or volunteer experiences. Applicants may reflect on these experiences when answering application essay questions. Additionally, applicants may substitute their School-Based Recommendation with an additional Academic or Employer Recommendation.


Requirements for Experience with Students

Elementary Education Teacher Certification (Elementary Education Option or Post-Baccalaureate)

  • 20 hours in a United States public elementary school classroom, or in multiple classrooms
  • Applicants must document work with children in grades K-5
  • Hours must have been completed in the last two years

Secondary Education Teacher Certification

  • 20 hours in a United States public middle or high school classroom
  • Applicants must document work with children in grades 6-12
  • Hours must have been completed in the last two years

Nature of Experience with Students

While all experience working with students is valuable, the School of Educational Studies is looking for direct experience in public elementary, middle, or high school classrooms. The School of Educational Studies will accept and encourages any of the following experiences:

  • Observing and listening to instruction and students' learning
  • One-on-one student support or instruction
  • Leading small groups or stations
  • Leading large groups
  • Paraprofessional experience
  • Previous classroom teaching experience

Other experiences such as after-school or community programming, nannying, coaching, religious or private school education, or school administrative work can be included on a resume that is submitted as part of the certification program application.

How to Complete Classroom Experience Requirement

Applicants to the Elementary or Secondary Education teacher certification programs can complete the required 20 hours of experience in many different ways, including Community-Based Learning and Research work as part of UW Bothell coursework, but many applicants choose to volunteer in public school classrooms.

Typical Process for Volunteering in a Public Elementary, Middle, or High School Classroom

  1. Research volunteering processes at local school districts - volunteer information is typically found on school district websites
  2. Complete and submit all volunteer applications, indicating applicant's intention to apply for a teacher certification program and their preference for the accepted experiences listed above
  3. Complete a state-mandated background check
  4. Complete any safety training or volunteer orientation
  5. Begin volunteering with students!

Please note that specific volunteer requirements and processes vary by school district and by state.