UOTeach prepares teacher leaders to have a lasting impact on the learning and lives of Oregon youth. Our partnerships with cooperating teachers and our University Supervisor mentor/coaches serve as the basis for promoting authentic engagement and rigor and the platform for pre-service teachers to learn and practice culturally responsive teaching techniques.
Equity and Subject Expertise:
In partnership with you, students learn:
Elementary: Kara Whipple
Mid-High: Robin Patterson
The Cooperating Teacher (CT) plays a crucial role in the Teacher Candidate’s (TC) growth and development as a novice teacher. The CT acts as a mentor; models effective teaching practices; plans collaborative teaching activities with the TC; and ensures the TC receives experience with planning instruction, teaching, assessment, and communicating with colleagues, administrators and parents. The CT affords the TC an opportunity to develop their personal teaching style, and encourages questions as well as open discussion and dialogue.
Your willingness to open your classroom to our students is a testament to your commitment to the teaching profession. The learning-to-teach process is complex and demanding; deep learning on the part of student teachers depends on the rich opportunities you can provide them within your classroom to experiment, practice, apply, create, revise and question. Below are some suggestions, guidelines and basic information that we trust will support the important work you do with our students. We remain grateful for your time and energy.
Welcoming the student teacher to your classroom
All of us who are teachers, remember our own student teaching experiences and the many worries we had about our own authority, ability and place in the classroom. To make a successful transition into the field placement, TCs need support adjusting to the routines and norms of the classroom and school, developing relationships with students and colleagues, and establishing themselves as “real” teachers.
Talk to your students ahead of time about the second teacher who will be joining the class. Establish expectations for their behavior and interactions with this new teacher and answer questions they might have.
- Encourage your TC to learn the names and important background information of the students quickly.
- Be prepared to spend some time talking with your TC. Share your philosophy, talk about your teaching and working style, explain particular norms and conventions of practice that undergird your classroom but may be implicit and embedded, think aloud about the goals you have for your students that year. Encourage your TC to share in return their goals, fears, talents, previous experience, etc. Get to know one another.
- Introduce your TC to other faculty and personnel in the school.
- Provide a work area for your TC and a space for personal belongings
- Acquaint your TC with curriculum materials, instructional supplies, teaching aids, and available technology.
- Articulate the rules, regulations and practices of the school; share the school’s mission, as well as the services and programs that are provided.
- Add the TC’s name to the classroom door.
- Remember to emphasize confidentiality.
Gathering information and establishing channels of communication
- Exchange phone numbers and email addresses; discuss when and how you will communicate with one another outside of school hours.
- Schedule at least one time a week when you both can meet to plan together and talk about what has been and will be going on in the classroom.
- Meet with your TC’s University Supervisor to plan ahead for triad meetings and observations.
- Go over program expectations and paperwork together.
Planning for your student teacher’s growth and development over time
- Learning to teach is not only complex, should be deliberate and gradual. Think about how you will scaffold your TC’s learning and development over time; gradually assuming more and more responsibility and independence.
- At the beginning of the experience, observation is particularly important so that TCs learn to see classrooms and learner with new and ever more informed eyes.
- Guide your TC to assume responsibilities in measured increments; beginning first by working one-on-one with students and then small groups, on to larger groups or the whole class, eventually moving on to the design and implementation of instructional sequences and unit plans and full or major responsibility for day-to-day teaching and long-term planning.
- Consider your own role and how you will guide and assess your TC’s progress. Observe regularly and over feedback and suggestions designed to help your TC improve, reconsider and more deeply understand or revise their practice.
- Share your own pedagogical decision-making so your TC can benefit from your thinking aloud.
- Remain open to your TC’s ideas and create spaces for trying out new possibilities and new ways of approaching student learning.
Inducting your student teacher into the teaching profession
- Think about knowledge, skills and experiences your TC will need to participate fully and productively in the school and the profession.
- Share assessment and record keeping techniques.
- Involve your TC in grade, department and school meetings. When appropriate, include them in student conferences with parents
- Encourage your TC to attend after-school activities or events
- Encourage your TC to become familiar with district policies, learning standards and specific guidelines surrounding the care and safety of students.
Assessing teaching readiness and fit
- Any concerns you have about your TC’s teaching abilities and practice should always be shared with candor and care with both your student teacher and the University Supervisor.
- Timely intervention, specific feedback and additional support will help strengthen the TC’s practice.
Guidelines for communicating with student teachers
- Focus feedback on behavior rather that the person.
- Focus feedback on observations rather than inferences.
- Focus feedback on description rather than judgment.
- Focus feedback on the sharing of ideas and information rather than on giving advice.
- Focus feedback on exploration of alternatives rather than the answers or solutions.
- The University Supervisor will arrange a triad conference with the candidate at the beginning of Winter term, to review program requirements, goals and scheduling.
- In both Winter and Spring terms, two more evaluation conferences will occur: at midterm and at the end of the term. These conferences include the supervisor and the candidate. Framework for Effective and Equitable Teaching (FEET) forms will be discussed at these meetings. CT should have time before these meetings to fill out their own FEET form.
- Please help your TC practice classroom management procedures that are consistent with classroom policies.
- TCs begin their fieldwork at a time when procedures for dealing with classroom behavior are already established. Those procedures and the rationale for them should be discussed. If necessary, assist the candidate to adapt or modify existing procedures.
Planning for Instruction
- Familiarize the candidate with the scope and sequence of the subjects that will be taught. Review the TC‘s lesson plans and unit plan to provide feedback about the appropriateness of the plans and suggest revisions and adjustments.
- Encouraged the use a variety of instructional procedures. Discuss any new procedures in advance, to make sure they are instructionally sound and suggest revisions and adjustments.