Student Teaching: Tips for Cooperating Teachers

Tips for the supervising teacher

Having just completed a practicum experience, I thought I might add a couple of tips:

  1. If you’re in a school were students need to trust teachers before they warm to teachers, tell the student teacher
  2. If your class is very possessive of you, consider team teaching – this will make it a less traumatic experience for both the class and the student teacher
  3. If your teaching style (particularly in behaviour management) is vastly different from your prac teachers, warn them that the students may react negatively to change and tell the student teacher what has been working well for you and the routines that you already have established in a class – particularly with difficult classes. Let the student teacher decide how they will handle the class
  4. Remember that the student teacher is still a student, is nervous and is probably highly critical of themselves. Emphasise the positives of their teaching methodology and give gentle suggestions on how they can improve (don’t tell them they’re doing something wrong without having a suggestion for how it could be improved)
  5. Allocate a few minutes in the morning each day for the student teacher to discuss lessons, contents and any other concerns.
Things to remember…
Submitted by: todlyn, Originally posted at the Discussion Forums
Having been on both ends of the experience I can’t say enough about how important your role will be in shaping this new teacher.  My own student teaching experience was lack-luster. My cooperating teacher thought of me as her ticket out of the classroom. I saw her in the morning, and then she was gone for hours. She gave me very little feed back. In fact, the two major things I garnered from the experience were that I was truly unprepared for the task I had undertaken, and, secondly, I did not know what to do about it. The only word of advice I remember her giving me was that I needed to improve my handwriting. Like that was going to radically improve my teaching!
As I have continued in teaching, I have also had the chance to serve as a cooperating teacher. From these experiences I would recommend that you:
  • provide an open environment in which your student is able to make mistakes without fear of judgement.
  • guide them gently into more effective practices when mistakes are made.
  • monitor and make notes on anything that you think you and your student need to discuss regarding their teaching during your planning period or at the end of the day. Make sure you include lots of positive feedback, too. We all need encouragement.
  • never assume that your student knows anything, that includes the CONTENT they are going to teach. (I have just jumped up to fifth grade and am going through a re-education of sorts. Can you believe that some statistics professor forgot to inform me of Pascal’s triangle, or better yet that I am teaching it to 10 year-olds!)
  • teach your student how to incorporate the standards used in your state if applicable.
  • require them to do their own classroom and behavior management.
  • provide any pointers for managing those mountains of paper we all know and love. Include information on grading, filing, and parent communications.
  • stress the importance of parent involvement and community relations, such as weekly class newsletters, class webpages, etc,
  • have a work area set up for your student that includes the office basics such as note pads, stapler, WhiteOut, etc.
  • don’t walk out and leave him/her. Be sure to provide emotional support as well as a presence in the classroom, too.
Take Time To Know Them 
Submitted by: T. Wide, All
Take time to know the student teacher as a person, separate from the class. Then when possible share some positive tidbits with your students and together begin to make the student teacher a part of the class.

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