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Cooperating Teachers

As a cooperating teacher, you are the mentor and guide of your student teacher in his or her field placement setting. By example, by demonstration, by coaching, and by emotional support, you provide a kind of instruction that can be found nowhere else in the teacher education program. You have been selected by the school district and the University on the basis of your demonstrated expertise as a teacher and your willingness to mentor our student teachers, and we deeply appreciate the time and attention you give to our students.

For your benefit and the benefit of your student teacher, we suggest the following guidelines in order to assure smoothness and success during the student teaching process:

  1. Attend the cooperating teacher workshops, which introduce principles of supervision and clarify the University’s goals for teacher education. The workshops are held early in the semester in two after school hour sessions. Make clear to the student teacher what he or she is expected to know and do, including routines to which the students are accustomed and the rationale for important aspects of your teaching strategies.
  2. Determine (in consultation with the student teacher) the schedule on which he or she will take over teaching responsibilities, making sure that the student teacher is successful at each level before going on to more extended responsibility and finally to full-day teaching responsibility.
  3. Give brief feedback to the student teacher as he or she is planning units and lessons.
  4. Meet daily for a brief period (10 – 15 minutes at least) and weekly for a longer time (at least half an hour) with the student teacher to provide feedback and allow for joint planning.
  5. Treat the student teacher as a colleague in the presence of students, parents, and other faculty members.
  6. Follow school district policies in obtaining a substitute teacher for any instances in which he or she will not be present in the classroom during the normal school day. In addition to giving daily encouragement and feedback, fill out the Iowa Department of Education Student Teacher Evaluation form twice and meet with the student teacher to discuss strengths and areas for improvement.
  7. Meet with the University supervisor to turn in a copy of the mid-term and discuss the student teacher’s progress.
  8. Participate in a final conference with the student teacher and the University supervisor to turn in the final evaluation and provide final guidance and support to the student teacher.
  9. Fill out a “mock evaluation” of the Iowa Teaching standards and discuss the evaluation with the student teacher.
  10. Verify the student teacher’s use of different teaching strategies, using the “Lesson Variety Verification” form. Both forms are included in this syllabus.
  11. Write a narrative recommendation for the student teacher at the end of student teaching that he or she can send to potential employers. This recommendation will be kept in the student’s permanent file in the Education Department.
  12. Contact the University supervisor if any difficulties arise in the student teacher’s progress toward becoming a professional teacher.


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