Clinical Practice is designed as an experience where student-teachers are guided and supported as they develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions critical to effective teaching. Cooperating Teachers mentor and support pre-service student-teachers as they try out emerging teaching skills and learn to take responsibility for running and maintaining an actual classroom. The mentoring and modeling of the Cooperating Teacher assists in easing the transition from a pre-service teacher to in-service teacher, who is ready to assume the full responsibility and workload of professional educator in a school setting.
With these ideas in mind, the responsibilities of Cooperating Teachers are as follows:
- Orient the Candidate to the total school setting, including any safety procedures, school policies, and duties or responsibilities of the faculty;
- Help the Candidate understand their role as it relates to their teaching assignment and the total school program and to define the extent of their responsibility and authority;
- Discuss the district program with the Candidate so that they understand classroom activities in relation to immediate and long-term teaching goals;
- Provide opportunities for the Candidate to gain experience in management of regular school duties with as much initiative and responsibility as the situation will permit;
- Cooperate with University personnel to ensure that academic assignments and requirements are met and completed;
- Assess the Candidate's progress and development as a teacher on a continuing basis, gathering and recording data to confer with the student-teacher on a weekly basis for purposes of analysis, feedback, and guidance;
- Provide data and evidence in writing for the University Supervisor to use in determining the Candidate's grade;
- Complete the mid-term and final evaluation forms on Candidate's performance.
- Serve as a model and information source for your Candidate to help improve teaching skills and develop new instructional strategies, to understand and develop teacher-student rapport and relationships, and to understand both the cognitive and affective aspects of teaching and learning.
- Hold a regular one-hour/one period weekly meeting with the student-teacher to review and give feedback on lesson plans for the upcoming week, discuss progress in all domains of the Danielson Framework, and address any concerns that have arisen. Ideally, weekly meetings should be held on Thursdays or Fridays.
Additionally, during student-teaching (last semester of the program), Cooperating Teachers should:
- Help Teacher Candidates prepare for full takeover of classes within the first six weeks of the Student Teaching experience, including classroom management, planning, preparation, instruction, assessment and evaluation in order to provide a representative total teaching experience;
- Work with the University Supervisor to guide the progress of the Student Teacher throughout clinical practice and keep the University Supervisor and FLTE Director abreast of any concerns or serious issues as they arise.