WRITTEN STATEMENT OF REFERENCE:
SUGGESTIONS FOR COOPERATING TEACHERS
Cooperating teachers are required to provide the Office of Field Experiences with a signed written statement of reference for each student teacher, as required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. These statements are filed for five years and then destroyed.
Most student teachers will also request that you provide them with a signed written statement of reference because the Office of Career Services at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater does not store written statements of reference or letters of recommendation as part of a “placement file” that is mailed to prospective employees. It is now the obligation of students to obtain and keep statements and letters. This also means that all statements of reference are “open” documents to which students have access.
In composing your statement, you are encouraged to review the interim and final evaluation forms that you have completed for the student teacher, noting especially areas of strength, weakness, and improvement.
In organizing your statement, it is recommended that you include three sections:
SETTING Describe the nature of this placement, including number and size of classes, and characteristics of students (e.g., socioeconomic status, gender, race and ethnicity, general ability level). Also include information about student teacher's involvement in any co- or extra-curricular activities.
TEACHING Include information reflecting the Wisconsin Teacher Standards (Appendix A-1) and
ABILITY provide specific examples whenever possible
Standard 1: Central concepts, tools of inquiry, structures of discipline(s)
Standard 2: Student learning and development
Standard 3: Student differences, student diversity
Standard 4: Instructional strategies
Standard 5: Individual and group motivation, learning environment
Standard 6: Communication skills, use of media and technology
Standard 7: Instructional planning
Standard 8: Formal and informal assessment strategies
Standard 9: Reflective practice, professional growth, professionalism
Standard 10: Understanding of school organization, relationship to community
POTENTIAL This is the place where you indicate whether or not you can recommend the student teacher
AS as a viable candidate for a position. The statement should indicate the intensity of your
TEACHER recommendation (e.g., recommend, strongly recommend, very strongly recommend; adequate, fine, good, excellent, outstanding candidate). If appropriate, you may want to include the level of position for which you are recommending this person (e.g., early elementary, intermediate grades, middle level, high school). You may want to indicate the quality of this student teacher among all the student teachers you have supervised (e.g., among the top 25% of the 12 student teachers I have supervised). It is also appropriate to indicate if you believe the success or effectiveness of the student teacher as a beginning teacher will be enhanced by beginning teacher induction support through a department chairperson, team leader, or mentor.
Your participation in teacher preparation is indispensable. Your acceptance of the responsibilities involved in serving as a cooperating teacher and your expenditure of time and energy in working with a student teacher testify to your commitment to the profession of teaching. The time and energy required to write a statement of reference is equally important. Thank you for contributing to the profession of teaching in such an important way.