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Cooperating Teacher Orientation
James Madison University
Education Support Center
The Role of the
CooperatingTeacher
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You will play a critical role in helping the
student teacher complete his/her experience
successfully.
The following information will help define
your role and responsibilities as a
cooperating teacher and explain what you
should expect from your student teacher.
This orientation should be used in
conjunction with the Student Teaching
Performance Guide.
Welcoming your Student Teacher
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The student teacher should contact you, but he/she
would also like to hear from you.
Orient your student teacher to:
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you (e.g. introductions, “survival kit”, setting
assignments/schedule)
the school (e.g. maps, routines, rules, emergency
procedures), and
the classroom (e.g. getting to know your students).
The Initial School Visit
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Learn about your student teacher.
Share your own experiences, skills, interests, and
expectations.
Topics for discussion might include:
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School philosophy, policies, calendar & daily schedule.
Expectations regarding dress, behavior, etc.
Required reports and record-keeping, grading
standards and discipline procedures [share school
handbook].
The curriculum and skills or SOL content to be covered.
Sharing your instructional materials (texts) and
strategies.
School’s expectations for their students and classroom
routines [share student handbook for reference].
Student Teacher
Attendance Requirements
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Must follow the school division calendar (not the
University calendar) including vacations, holidays, and
workdays.
Attend school “make-up” days scheduled due to
inclement weather closings.
Allowable absences include personal illness, death in
immediate family or extreme circumstances.
Approval for pre-planned absences must be obtained
in advance from both the cooperating teacher and
university supervisor. Appropriate paperwork must be
submitted.
Multiple absences, and/or frequently
arriving late or leaving early, are not
permitted. Be sure to inform the University
Supervisor.
Student Teacher
Attendance Requirements
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(continued)
In case of unexpected absence, the student teacher
must notify the cooperating teacher immediately. If
s/he can’t reach the CT, the principal must be
contacted. The university supervisor must also be
informed.
The student teacher is responsible for providing
lesson plans during an absence to ensure
continuity of instruction.
Student teachers are excused from the classroom for
the following events:
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Required Student Teaching Conference held on-campus
each semester.
One Teacher Recruitment Day. (Spring student
teachers only)
Student Teacher
Schedule Requirements
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Student teachers are expected to follow the
cooperating teacher’s schedule throughout
the placement including:
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Observing the same hours.
Attending professional meetings including
faculty meetings, parent conferences, PTA, and
county or city in-service workshops.
Taking part in extra-curricular activities as
appropriate.
Student Teacher
Professionalism Requirements
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Student teachers must demonstrate
professional attitudes and actions:
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Follow school’s rules and policies.
Be courteous to teachers, staff, pupils, and
school community.
Meet school’s standards of dress, behavior, and
personal appearance.
Place school responsibilities ahead of personal
wishes.
Safeguard knowledge from access to
confidential records or personal information,
using it for professional purposes only.
Please share any confidentiality concerns
with ST or university supervisor.
A Moment to Reflect
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Scenario 1. Your student teacher arrives on her first day with enthusiasm and
appropriate attire. As you are discussing your expectations, you see a glint of metal in
her mouth and realize she has a tongue piercing. What do you do?
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Inform her that she is not to wear it when she is in the school.
Scenario 2. Your student teacher has been doing an excellent job over the first few
weeks. During lunch, she excitedly mentions to you that her fiancГ©e is arriving for a
long weekend and would you mind if she took Monday off. What do you do?
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Wish her a great weekend, but remind her that she needs to be in school on
Monday. There are no provisions or time for a personal absence.
Scenario 3. You are planning your long term schedule with your new student teacher
and he questions why he should be attending an evening PTA meeting, especially since
it interferes with his evening job as a server. What do you do?
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Remind the student teacher that he/she is expected to follow your schedule.
Student teachers are told that this is a full-time experience and takes precedence
over all other responsibilities.
Scenario 4. You overhear your student teacher talking to another student teacher at
your school. They are discussing some students in their classrooms and you feel they
are breaching confidentiality. What do you do?
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Talk to them about your concern, and share this concern with the university
supervisor if it happens again.
Planning
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Provide orientation to school and classroom.
Discuss basic instructional materials and faculty
and student handbooks.
Help establish objectives and provide
expectations and deadlines for daily lesson
plans, unit plans, and pupil evaluation.
Plan (with university supervisor) for induction
into teaching process and gradual assumption
of primary classroom responsibility.
Schedule
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Cooperating teacher, university supervisor,
and student teacher will work together to
develop an appropriate schedule to cover a
broad range of experiences.
Things to consider:
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School’s schedule and program design, including
SOL instruction and testing.
Incorporation of co-teaching strategies.
Readiness of pupils to accept a student teacher.
See sample teaching schedule. (ST Performance
Guide, Section III, p.7)
Climate
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Develop an atmosphere that supports dialogue and
discussion – share advice, provide constructive
feedback, and encourage open communication.
Establish a climate that allows the student teacher
to develop skills in planning and to test theory and
practice in the classroom.
Foster the support of administrators, staff, and other
faculty in the building.
Teaching
and the Student Teaching Experience
“One must be a student before one can
be a teacher.” –Chinese Proverb
Teaching
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Review and give feedback on lesson plans
BEFORE they are used in class.
Observe informally daily -- provide oral
feedback on classroom management skills and
at least one lesson or activity.
Serve as a resource for all facets of the
experience –curriculum, the teaching process,
professionalism, supplies, equipment, etc.
Work with supervisor to see that ST is meeting
university goals and expectations.
Provide increasing feedback and support as ST
assumes primary classroom responsibility.
Reflection, Collaboration and
Communication
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Apprise ST of progress at all times and
revise goals and expectations as necessary.
Meet formally at least once a week to
discuss progress, review short and long
term instructional plans, and identify
objectives for following week.
Enter your reflections in Tk20 at a set time
each week. Include what went
well and why, what didn’t go as
well and why and suggestions.
Reflection, Collaboration and
Communication (continued)
and the Student Teaching Experience
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Complete mid-block and final student
teacher evaluations. Share your evaluation
with the student teacher and university
supervisor.
Provide ST opportunities for professional
growth by encouraging observations of
other educators, attendance at professional
meetings, and participation in school’s
programs.
Review all forms in Section IV of Student
Teacher Performance Guide.
A Moment to Reflect
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Scenario 5. You meet with your new student teacher to submit the Student Teaching
Block Organizer in Tk20. What information do you need to have ready before you sit
down to plan?
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Have academic/school calendars and your lesson plans available. You will need
your schedule of meetings, field trips, testing, etc. to begin your planning.
Scenario 6. You’ve accepted a first block student teacher, and so you’re getting to
know your new students and your student teacher all at once. What are some steps you
can take to provide a climate that encourages learning, and supports communication
and feedback with your student teacher?
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Introduce yourself and your student teacher as “co-teachers” to your new students.
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Establish your classroom routines as you normally would, having your student
teacher responsible for portions of the routine.
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Share your past stories/experiences for establishing a new classroom with your
ST.
Scenario 7. You’ve just finished the first two weeks of your 8-weeks with your student
teacher. You’re feeling a little overwhelmed. When are you supposed to find the time to
do all of these meetings, evaluations and feedback with your ST?
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Choose one planning period a week to meet formally to discuss ST progress and
review lesson plans. If possible, enter your reflections in Tk20 before you meet.
Incorporate informal feedback during your normal communication throughout the
day.
From Intro to Solo
“Learning and teaching should not stand on
opposite banks and just watch the river flow
by; instead, they should embark together on
a journey down the water…”
Malaguzzi, Loris, quoted in The Hundred Languages of Children
From Intro to Solo
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You should share teaching activities with the
ST in a variety of ways at first, and
eventually leave him/her alone in the
classroom for extended periods of time.
Do not leave all day! Observations and
feedback on teaching skills are critical.
It is the entire teaching experience each day
that is important for the student teacher, not
just being alone in the classroom.
Observations and Assessments
(see Section IV of Student Teaching Performance Guide)
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Regular daily observations and feedback are
recommended.
There are many strategies for classroom
observations to use including: Selective
Verbatim, Verbal Flow, At-Task, Teacher
Movement, and Focused Scripting (pp. 19-22).
These strategies are useful when you are
providing feedback for specific aspects of
teaching (e.g. content knowledge, instructional
performance, student involvement).
You are required to submit assessments in Tk20
at midblock and at the end of the student
teaching experience. (pp. 9-12)
Co-Teaching
(see Section II of Student Teaching Performance Guide)
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Co-teaching is when CT & ST are working
together with groups of students and sharing
the delivery of instruction.
It can allow the student teacher to gradually
present portions of the lessons and/or work with
individuals or small groups of students.
With co-teaching the time the ST is left totally
alone is reduced, and it takes advantage of an
additional trained adult in the classroom to teach
students.
Approaches to co-teaching include:
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One Teach, One Support, Parallel Teaching, Alternative Teaching,
Station Teaching, and Team Teaching (pp. 4-5).
A Moment to Reflect
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Scenario 8. You feel that your ST might be calling on the same students throughout the lesson. What observation strategy might you use to elicit that information?
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Teacher movement observes the ST pattern through the classroom to see if
the teacher is able to give specific attention to all individuals during a lesson.
You also can keep a record of how many times each student is called on during
a particular lesson.
Scenario 9. Several students in your class are struggling with their math concepts.
What methods of co-teaching can you explore with your student teacher during math
lessons that can address this problem?
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Depending on the number of students having difficulty with the content, either
Parallel Teaching or Alternative Teaching would be a good use of a second
teacher in the class in this scenario. This would entail either splitting the class in
half or splitting the class into the main large group and a small group. That way
the students having more difficulty grasping the concept could be taught at a
slower pace while allowing other students to move ahead.
Scenario 10. Your high school English student teacher wants to incorporate coteaching strategies into her lesson plans. Your students are learning about American
poetry. What method might work well in this situation?
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Team Teaching probably would be the most effective method for these lessons.
The class can have an engaging discussion as you both actively share your own
interpretations and insight.
The Role of the
University Supervisor
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The university supervisor is the primary
liaison between the host school and the
University.
He/she will schedule a visit near the
beginning of the block to discuss the
program requirements. Subsequent visits
should average about once every two
weeks:
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To review ST lesson plans.
To observe classes or activities that ST is
teaching and provide written feedback.
To confer with CT and ST.
The Final Grade
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The university supervisor is ultimately
responsible for the student teacher’s final grade
(credit / satisfactory or no credit/unsatisfactory).
Your input and recommendations, however, are
critical to the grading process!
Your final evaluation, including narrative
comments, should always accurately reflect the
ST’s performance.
Clinical Faculty
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Clinical Faculty are cooperating teachers who have
received specialized training in working with student
teachers.
CF have increased responsibilities:
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Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning (graduate
work, workshops, or other professional development
activities).
Assume a three-year appointment and attend at least one
refresher workshop during that term.
Accept one student teacher per year, if requested.
Formally observe student teachers once a week and
provide written feedback.
CF receive an increased honorarium due to their
added qualifications, training, and responsibilities.
Please contact your principal if you are interested in
participating.
Thank You for your Participation
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Please contact the Education Support
Center at 540-568-6274 or teachered@jmu.edu if you have any questions
or comments about this orientation.
Be sure to review our website at
http://www.jmu.edu/coe/esc/ for
additional information about the
student teaching process.
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