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Cooperating Teacher Orientation

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1 Cooperating Teacher Orientation
James Madison University Education Support Center Welcome to Teacher Education at James Madison University. Cooperating teachers are essential to the success of our teacher preparation program and we appreciate all that you do. This short orientation is intended as a supplement to the materials you receive from the Education Support Center. You will be able to proceed through the program by clicking on the screen or using the space bar or down arrow. If you have questions or want to contact us for any reason, please use the information given at the end of the orientation. Begin the program now.

2 The Role of the CooperatingTeacher
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. The student teacher, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor form the triad of the student teaching experience. During this time you will fill a variety of roles, including coach, mentor and instructor. It will be in your classroom that the student teacher will have the greatest opportunity to apply theory to practice under your guidance.

3 Welcoming your Student Teacher
The student teacher should contact you, but he/she would also like to hear from you. Orient your student teacher to: 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).

4 The Initial School Visit
Learn about your student teacher. Share your own experiences, skills, interests, and expectations. Topics for discussion might include: 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].

5 Student Teacher Attendance Requirements
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. It is extremely important that student teachers complete a full teaching experience and in order for that to happen, they must be in the classroom. Attendance requirements are very clear and university supervisors need to be informed by the student of every absence. It also is important for student teachers to follow the school schedule for arriving and leaving on a daily basis. If you have any questions on this issue, please contact the university supervisor or department head.

6 Student Teacher Attendance Requirements (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: Required Student Teaching Conference held on-campus each semester. One Teacher Recruitment Day. (Spring student teachers only)

7 Student Teacher Schedule Requirements
Student teachers are expected to follow the cooperating teacher’s schedule throughout the placement including: 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.

8 Student Teacher Professionalism Requirements
Student teachers must demonstrate professional attitudes and actions: 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. Professional behavior is expected of all student teachers. It is usually good practice, if such issues arise, to first address them with the student teacher and then mention them to the university supervisor. If the situation is of great concern, please contact the university supervisor immediately.

9 A Moment to Reflect 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? 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 fiancée is arriving for a long weekend and would you mind if she took Monday off. What do you do? 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? 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? Talk to them about your concern, and share this concern with the university supervisor if it happens again. Please take a moment now to reflect on how you would respond to each of these situations.

10 Planning and the Student Teaching Experience
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. Planning is an essential part of the student teaching experience. Please make sure that you review and discuss all lesson plans with the student teacher before the day on which they are taught. This will allow you to give input and to make sure that the lessons are appropriate.

11 Schedule and the Student Teaching Experience
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: 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)

12 Climate and the Student Teaching Experience
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.

13 Teaching and the Student Teaching Experience
“One must be a student before one can be a teacher.” –Chinese Proverb

14 Teaching and the Student Teaching Experience
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.

15 Reflection, Collaboration and Communication and the Student Teaching Experience
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.

16 Reflection, Collaboration and Communication (continued) and the Student Teaching Experience
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. The mid-block evaluation is a valuable tool for providing formative evaluation and allow the student teacher to know what strengths and areas for improvement you are seeing at that point.

17 A Moment to Reflect 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? 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? Introduce yourself and your student teacher as “co-teachers” to your new students. Establish your classroom routines as you normally would, having your student teacher responsible for portions of the routine. 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? 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. Please take a moment to reflect on these situations.

18 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

19 From Intro to Solo 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. Student teachers need time to observe you teach, to plan and co-teach with you, and to plan and teach on their own. Please make sure that you include time for each during the student teaching experience. Remember that now you have two professionals in your class, and that can provide for some exciting teaching opportunities.

20 Observations and Assessments (see Section IV of Student Teaching Performance Guide)
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 ). 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)

21 Co-Teaching (see Section II of Student Teaching Performance Guide)
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: One Teach, One Support, Parallel Teaching, Alternative Teaching, Station Teaching, and Team Teaching (pp. 4-5).

22 A Moment to Reflect Scenario 8. You feel that your ST might be calling on the same students through-out the lesson. What observation strategy might you use to elicit that information? 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? 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 co-teaching strategies into her lesson plans. Your students are learning about American poetry. What method might work well in this situation? 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. Please take a moment to reflect on these situations.

23 The Role of the University Supervisor
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: 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 university supervisor will be the primary contact with the education programs during this experience. Please rely on them for support for you and the student teacher and provide answers to your questions.

24 The Final Grade 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.

25 Clinical Faculty Clinical Faculty are cooperating teachers who have received specialized training in working with student teachers. CF have increased responsibilities: 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.

26 Thank You for your Participation
Please contact the Education Support Center at or if you have any questions or comments about this orientation. Be sure to review our website at for additional information about the student teaching process. Once again, thank your for your support of teacher education at James Madison University and we look forward to working with you again in the future.

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