- College of Education & Professional Studies
- Office of Field Experiences
Role and Responsibility of the Cooperating Teacher
The cooperating teacher directs the student teacher's early classroom observations, focusing on both pupils and teaching. The cooperating teacher should share with the student teacher the steps involved in planning and implementing the instructional program, as well as taking an active part in the initial planning done by the student teacher.
Student Teaching Period
- The student teacher should ordinarily be assuming limited teaching responsibility by the second week of the student teaching period.
- Prior to the initial teaching, the cooperating teacher and the student teacher agree upon definite guidelines for planning, e.g., format, due date, procedures for feedback and revision.
- In the beginning, the cooperating teacher encourages the student teacher to prepare detailed plans and checks to see that objectives are clear, materials listed, and steps and procedures included.
- The cooperating teacher should feel free to make either oral or written suggestions, realizing that student teachers want and need assistance and that they look to their cooperating teachers for help in anticipating outcomes.
- Revision of plans, when advisable, will be suggested by the cooperating teacher.
- Experimentation with new materials, methods, and techniques will be subject to approval of the cooperating teacher.
- The cooperating teacher keeps a cumulative folder of the student teacher's plans.
In summary, the cooperating teacher usually follows a sequential process in helping the student teacher develop independence in planning. The cooperating teacher first serves as a model, then plans with the student teacher, and finally encourages the student teacher to do independent planning. This sequence is usually achieved gradually and will vary according to the aptitude and readiness of the student teacher.
The cooperating teacher frequently has conferences with the student teacher about pre-teaching planning.
- Opportunities for post-teaching conferences are provided for evaluation of lessons taught and for further planning.
- The cooperating teacher should expect to meet periodically with the university supervisor, and with the student teacher and the university supervisor in two- and three-way conferences, respectively.
- Regular conferences between student teacher and cooperating teacher should be scheduled in advance and not just in response to a problem or crisis situation. Regularly scheduled conferences can and should provide the student teacher with opportunities to share successful experiences and to explore together with the cooperating teacher the student teacher's insights into teaching as a profession.
The cooperating teacher has two roles in the observation process--the observer and the observed.
- The cooperating teacher provides frequent opportunities for self-evaluation by the student teacher through providing alternate periods of observation and teaching. The cooperating teacher will arrange for the student teacher to observe other teachers and a variety of teaching styles whenever possible.
- The cooperating teacher uses observation scales but attempts to limit the number of techniques being observed at any one time.
- The cooperating teacher may make notes during the lesson to provide direction for the post-teaching conferences.
- As a rule, the cooperating teacher does not offer suggestions at the time the student teacher is working with the class, but reserves comments for the post-teaching conferences.
Opportunities to Teach
As the student teacher demonstrates growing confidence and competence, the cooperating teacher gradually increases the responsibilities for independent planning and teaching so that the limited teaching experienced during the second week may gradually lead to the student teacher assuming significant or total teaching responsibilities during the last several weeks of the student teaching period. The pace of assuming teaching schedule will vary among student teachers and the cooperating teacher must gauge the amount and type of instructional duties that the student teacher can reasonably be expected to assume. The university supervisor can be consulted in this matter to the extent that the cooperating teacher deems necessary.
- The cooperating teacher, who is in continuous contact with the student teacher and in a position to observe day-to-day development, assumes the major responsibility for the on-going evaluation of the student teacher's progress. The university supervisor, functioning in a supportive role, is available to the cooperating teacher for consultation regarding the progress of the student teacher and will observe and confer with the student teacher.
- The cooperating teacher is required to complete three formal reports for the student teaching: (1) an interim evaluation report, (2) a final evaluation report, and (3) a written statement of reference.
- During the post-teaching conference, the cooperating teacher encourages critical self-evaluation by the student teacher and suggests specific means of improvement.Experience with student teachers has shown that they want to know where they stand and how they are doing.
- Specific evaluations of daily lessons are frequently based on notes made by the cooperating teacher as the student teacher is at work in the classroom. These notes may become a part of the student teacher's own folder and can be used as a cumulative record of progress.
- Evaluation of overall progress of the student teacher is a continuous process and the mutual responsibility of the cooperating teacher and the student teacher. Using the final evaluation form several times during the period, the cooperating teacher and student teacher can determine together the areas of strength and growth, and areas requiring further attention. A wise use of the form enables an objective and positive evaluation rather than unspecified and consequently minimally useful praise or criticism. The student signature on the final evaluation form indicates knowledge of contents.
- Limited progress of any student teacher should be reported to the university supervisor at the earliest possible date. The supervisor assumes the responsibility for informing the Office of Field Experiences if necessary. Recommending a student to withdraw from student teaching is an official function of the Office of Field Experiences in consultation with the student teacher, the cooperating teacher, and the university supervisor. See Appendix E for Policies and Procedures for Recommending that a Student Withdraw from Any Required Field Experience.
- Immediately upon completion of the student teaching period and with the assistance of the university supervisor, the cooperating teacher should complete the final checklist and prepare a written statement of reference for submission to the Office of Field Experiences.The final checklist and written statement of reference should be submitted to the Office of Field Experiences within thirty days following the last day of the student teaching assignment.