Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor!
Cooperating teachers play an essential role in supporting, coaching, and preparing student teachers for their future role as an effective educator. Cooperating teachers help student teachers understand the dynamics of the classroom. They mentor student teachers as they navigate the development of lesson plans that align with state standards; implement effective methodologies and strategies to meet the academic and behavioral needs of all learners, and design assessment tools to collect data for the purposes of progress monitoring.
Qualifications of the Cooperating Teacher
1. Must have a valid Wisconsin license, or an equivalent license if the student teaching placement is located outside of Wisconsin.
2. Volunteered for the role as a cooperating teacher.
3. Has at least 3 years of teaching experience, including one year of experience at the current place of employment.
4. Has completed Cooperating Teacher training via Educate-WI or through another Wisconsin teacher preparation program.
The Student Teaching Experience
10 Sped students must successfully engage in three pre-student teaching experiences prior to the student teaching placement. The pre-student teaching experiences allow the student teacher to have experience with students across developmental levels in a variety of school settings.
Students reflect on their disposition for teaching during each semester of the program prior to their student teaching placement. Students may set goals to focus on the development of specific disposition related skills and attitudes to help prepare them for the experiential component of their program and their future teaching career. Students must successfully demonstrate their disposition for teaching and demonstrate an understanding of the 10 Teaching Standards before they can student teach.
While each student teaching placement is unique, typically student teachers begin the placement by observing the cooperating teacher teach and model effective behavior management strategies. Student teachers should assume the teaching role as soon as they are ready, usually starting with one period/subject a day and gradually building to a full day teaching schedule.
The cooperating teacher has the responsibility to provide the student teacher with opportunities to be fully engaged in the teacher role while serving as the mentor and coach to help the student teacher develop his/her skills throughout the placement. The cooperating teacher is expected to confer with the student's advisor and supervisor throughout the placement so that communication is clear and consistent and the student is supported during this learning experience. Cooperating teachers may recommend specific strategies that could support the student teacher in demonstrating proficiency on the 10 Teaching Standards throughout the student teaching experience.
The cooperating teacher should mentor the student teacher so he/she can learn school procedures and assume the same duties the cooperating teacher has outside the classroom (faculty meetings, parent meetings, committee meetings, PLCs, etc.) The cooperating teacher has the responsibility to provide the student teacher with opportunities to be fully engaged in the teacher role while serving as the mentor and coach to help the student teacher develop his/her skills throughout the placement.
Two evaluations must be conducted by the cooperating teacher during an 18-week placement (for student teachers seeking an initial license), and one evaluation is required during a 9-week placement (for students who are already licensed and are seeking an additional teaching license).
Please contact the Educate-WI office if you have questions about the role of the Cooperating Teacher.