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.
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!