As a Cooperating Teacher (CT), you play a vital role in the professional development of Stony Brook’s Teacher Candidate (TC) as the experienced mentor. The best practice is to allow your expertise to guide the TC in the development and practice of pedagogically sound and realistically appropriate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions. We ask you to be nurturing yet direct, to provide regular guidance and feedback, and to encourage the individual reflection and development of the beginning teacher.
TCs are ready to assume as much responsibility for lesson planning, instruction, and other professional duties as quickly as you feel she or he can handle without adversely affecting the education of your students. Please keep in mind that a realistic teaching experience, one that encompasses all the dimensions of the teaching role, is essential to the student teaching experience.
We recognize that ultimate responsibility for the performance of your students lies with you. We also understand that you are legally responsible for the students in your classroom (TCs should be not left alone in the classroom with students). However, we hope that you will encourage the teacher candidate to employ a variety of teaching strategies and thereby develop her or his own classroom style. Teacher candidates should take the initiative in lesson planning and design no later than the second week. They are encouraged to use student teaching as an opportunity to employ a variety of teaching strategies and to develop their own classroom style. You should encourage teacher candidates in this direction, suggest and demonstrate alternative teaching techniques, and be willing to share ideas and materials without imposing a single teaching style on the candidate. University Supervisors should make their first observation no later than the third or fourth week.
It is extremely important that cooperating teachers provide regular guidance in the preparation of lesson plans and feedback as to the effectiveness of the teacher candidate's teaching performance. Teacher candidates are expected to prepare lesson plans at least a day before they are taught and to review them with you. Candidates should be encouraged to explain how the lesson relates to broader unit and curricular aims and how the instructional strategies and activities contribute to the realization of the lesson aim.
Assist the teacher candidate in developing classroom management techniques in accordance with your policies and those of the school.
The teacher candidate should gradually assume responsibility for three classes per day. A "full teaching load" includes all of the responsibilities of the teacher, i.e., preparing and teaching lessons, grading, school-time duties (study halls, hall duty, recess), faculty meetings, etc.
Encourage the teacher candidate to engage in self-evaluation. Let her or him have the first opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the lesson and to point out strengths and weaknesses. In addition to regular discussions regarding lesson design and teaching performance, cooperating teachers can encourage the development of these skills by charting questioning strategies, time-on-task data and behavior problems for the teacher candidate.
It is very important to identify serious problems with teaching performance, receptiveness towards constructive feedback, and professional behavior as early as possible. If you have a serious concern, we encourage you to directly contact the University Supervisor or the Program Director of Field Experience and Clinical Practice.