Your cooperating teacher can help you make the most of your student teaching experience. Follow these tips to build a good relationship and get a great recommendation for your job hunt.

Because I was pursuing dual certification, I student taught twice. In the fall of 1983, I completed my special education student teaching experience, and in the spring of 1984, I student taught in elementary education. When I met my first cooperating teacher, she was not what I had envisioned as the perfect teacher. She was much older and more experienced than I expected, and she was very strict with her students. My second cooperating teacher was a man nearing retirement who had been a member of the Amish community until he earned his high school equivalency diploma and a college degree to become a teacher. I had my reservations about stepping into the classroom with both of these teachers, but both of the experiences ended up being incredible.

You need to know what you did well so you can keep doing it, but you also need to know what you need to improve.

That was 29 years ago, and since then, I have served as an on-site supervisor for many practicum students and interns. I’ve also worked on the university side, supervising pre-student teachers and school psychology practicum students. Having served in all three of these positions — as a student teacher, field supervisor, and university supervisor — I’ve seen good relationships and bad ones between student teachers and their cooperating teachers. Based on my experience in each of these roles, I offer the following advice to building a good relationship with your cooperating teacher.

Do your homework

Your student teaching experience is the culmination of your teacher preparation program. As a student teacher, you will be working closely with a cooperating teacher every day for a semester or more. Before stepping into the classroom, you can become acclimated to your placement by taking these steps.

Log in or become a member to read more!
Want to read the rest of this article? Pi Lambda Theta members enjoy full access to Educational Horizons online.