Responsibilities of the Cooperating Teacher
The role of the cooperating teacher is unquestionably one of the most demanding and important components within an effective student teaching program. As any experienced teacher knows, the task of assisting the beginning student teacher in developing and applying appropriate teaching techniques while simultaneously overseeing the best possible instructional program for his/her own students is not an easy one. Fortunately for the field of teacher education, there exist teachers with sufficient professional commitment to be willing to assume this most vital role.
Within the Middlebury College Education Studies Program, the cooperating teacher, student teacher, and college supervisor meet together as needed during the professional semester to plan the student teacher's observation, tutoring and teaching schedule, and to evaluate formally the student teacher's classroom performance. During the professional semester, the cooperating teacher performs the following supervisory duties:
- advises the student teacher in building a teacher licensure portfolio;
- plans for a time of maximum responsibility when the student teacher will assume full daily duties for the entire class as approved by college supervisor and cooperating teacher. It is often difficult to "leave" the classroom in the hands of the student teacher. Cooperating teachers might consider using this time for professional development opportunities such as visiting other classrooms or other schools;
- assists the student teacher in the development of a unit plan;
- reviews and comments on the student teacher's daily and/or weekly lesson plans, especially during the first four weeks of student teaching;
- observes and critiques the student teacher's classroom teaching on a regular and systematic basis. For example, in the first several weeks of classroom teaching, the cooperating teacher provides critical assessment of the student teacher's daily lessons and provides suggestions for improvement. As the professional semester progresses, the cooperating teacher normally provides weekly, but not necessarily daily assessments of the student teacher's strengths and weaknesses as a classroom teacher; these assessments are usually conveyed orally to the student teacher;
- makes one formal observation by the midterm - a brief written description of the observation should be attached to the midterm evaluation;
- schedules a one-half day planning meeting to take place in the Teacher Resource Room in the basement of Twilight Hall. Permission for this meeting must be granted by building administrator. The Education Studies Program will cover the cost of the substitute teacher or, if the meeting occurs on a non-school day of after the school day, will stipend the cooperating teacher an additional $50;
- at the mid-semester three-way conference, the cooperating teacher, college supervisor, and student teacher join in an overall assessment of the student teacher's progress based on the mid-term evaluation (see Appendix D) which has been completed prior to the conference. At this time all participants review the status of the student teacher with regard to the competencies required for teacher licensure in Vermont and check progress toward the completion of the portfolio;
- reviews with the student teacher the qualifications required by the state of Vermont in each subject listed in Appendix I of this handbook under Professional Endorsements, specifically focusing on the knowledge and abilities listed under the appropriate subject area (7-12 only);
- at the end of the professional semester, the cooperating teacher provides a written assessment of the student teacher's classroom performance (Appendix F) and participates in the final evaluation meeting of the Professional Semester Review Committee (see Appendix E).