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Student Teacher


Words of Advice for Cooperating Teachers from Former Student Teachers

The following is reprinted with permission from Spriggs and Boggs (2016, 28–29). Minor changes have been made to fit ATA style.

  • Seek the middle ground between helping the student teacher and leaving the student teacher alone.
  • Please don’t overlook culture (for example, dress code, lunchroom etiquette, appropriate bathrooms to use).
  • Introduce the student teacher to the school faculty and the administration.
  • Give the student teacher copies of school policies, rules and so on.
  • Although students are often curious about the background of the student teacher, it is important that when you are introducing your student teacher, your students clearly understand that this person will serve in the capacity of a teacher.
  • Help the student teacher learn how to assess; provide access to assessment tools and a planning book.
  • Make specific improvement goals as the student teacher goes along.
  • Help set up observations of teachers and other staff.
  • Start with easy things.
  • Tell the student teacher that they are supposed to discipline students, even before they are really teaching; sometimes they’re not sure if this is their responsibility.
  • Do not discipline or correct the student teacher in front of the students.
  • Be accessible; talk with the student teacher every day.
  • Tell the student teacher when you really believe something is not going to work, but allow the student teacher to fail.
  • Be specific in your feedback and directions; don’t expect perfection.
  • Ask “How are you doing?” often.
  • Tell the student teacher when lessons go well; they may not really know.
  • Let the student teacher know when you appreciate them (little notes and so on).
  • Make the student teacher get up in front of the class in some fashion immediately. Do not allow the student teacher to be just an “observer,” even for a day.
  • Team teaching a lesson or unit is very valuable.
  • Involve your student teacher in long-range planning.
  • Do a mock interview or set one up with an administrator or another staff member.
  • Provide a curriculum guide, objectives and so on and a list of what’s already been taught.
  • Ask the student teacher to tell you where or how you can help (especially when fully in charge).
  • Allow changes (bulletin boards, seating charts) that are all the student teacher’s own.
  • Teach the student teacher to always state expectations to the class.
  • Help get the school leader’s support for the student teacher.
  • Do a journal or talk reflectively on a regular basis.
  • Combine your creative talents.
  • Videotape the student teacher.
  • Let the student teacher try things for themselves.
  • Be positive.