Teacher Education

13 edTPA Tips Your Teacher Candidate Can’t Live Without

13 edTPA Tips Your Teacher Candidate Can’t Live Without

Do you have teacher candidates submitting edTPA portfolios?

No matter what your experience level may be with edTPA, we’ve got the hottest edTPA tips right here. Review these thirteen edTPA tips with your preservice teachers—and don’t worry, there are lots of tips to help with the tricky video bits.

Download our Ultimate Guide on Making and Submitting edTPA Videos

1. Read and re-read that handbook

Remind candidates that there are many different disciplines and guidelines for edTPA. The best tip you could possibly give? Have candidates read their handbook all the way through right at the beginning. Once they have a handle on your requirements, they’ll be that much more prepared to plan for edTPA.

2. Take a glimpse at the FAQs

The edTPA website is filled with gems waiting to be discovered. You can find the FAQs specifically for edTPA candidates right here on the website. Take a look to find answers to your questions and maybe learn some edTPA tips you haven’t even thought to ask about yet.

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3. Send out permission forms early

This is a common source of angst. As tedious as it is, parent/guardian permission needs to be given in writing before any filming can take place in a classroom. If two kids don’t have it, your teacher candidate needs to seat those kids out of frame. If your school district doesn’t have a standard release form, they can use edTPA’s sample form.

4. Start filming early too

Give your preservice teachers this edTPA tip: get that smartphone out and filming as soon as possible—at least by the first week. A lot will go wrong if candidates wait until the last few days of their internship to record. 

If your candidate is nervous, share that studies have shown that this anxiety decreases significantly if they film themselves more than once. Emphasize the positives that they’ll get the chance to watch themselves on camera and have plenty of videos to choose from for their portfolio.

5. Don’t wing it! Script and plan

Even if pre-service teachers are natural performers, practice and preparation will help them do their best. Make sure they’re thinking about the video portion right from the beginning of their field experience. Coach them on how to plan. Have them script what they’re going to say if necessary. Whatever they can do to prepare should be done.

6. DON’T waste money on expensive equipment

Smartphones and humble laptop webcams are sufficient to produce a high-quality edTPA video. Even a basic 360-degree webcam to attach to your machine shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you don’t believe us, this one is barely over $30.

7. Set up the audio

Capturing audio in a classroom filled with children is no easy task, but it’s not impossible either. For teacher observations, interns can try an inexpensive remote mic, a Bluetooth speaker, or a mic/tablet combo device like Swivl. Do some light research to find out which solution suits your program best.

8. Always test the video tech beforehand

Nothing is more frustrating for a student teacher than recording the greatest teaching demonstration of their lives . . . and realizing the camera didn’t record. Or something blocked the shot. Or the lighting was so bad that it’s basically footage of a silhouette teaching a colony of blobs. They should always, always test their video before they start.

9. Introduce the portfolio platform

Different teacher education programs use different platforms to submit to edTPA. Help familiarize your candidates with your platform and how to use it. It will help them document their work along the way. You certainly don’t want your preservice teachers to be learning your platform the night before your application is due. No thank you.

10. Collect more data than you need

Student teachers have a lot to juggle during their field experience. It’s all too easy to lose a critical video or realize during the submission process that you’re short one artifact item. So encourage them to film and collect as much data as possible throughout the year so this doesn’t happen.

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11. Stay on top of it

Pretty straightforward, we know, but it’s much easier to succeed at edTPA if teacher candidates don’t procrastinate. Make sure you instruct your candidates create a schedule of what needs to get done and complete small pieces here and there. Doing it all in two weeks? That is a nightmare best avoided.

12. Try a video management tool to spare your sanity

Complicated video tools can be intimidating, but video doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’ve never tried video coaching and observation, GoReact will blow your mind at how easy and useful it is for recording lessons and delivering time-coded comments to your teacher candidates.

13. Read our ultimate how-to guide on edTPA video

Find these edTPA tips useful? Then check out our free ultimate edTPA video guide. It provides more resources to prepare your candidates for their edTPA videos.

For more edTPA tips, check out How To Do edTPA The Easy Way, Not The Hard Way