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    cooperating teacher
    By twinsister

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    I have had many student teachers and have really enjoyed the time with them for the exception of two. I always have a place (hopefully a desk) that they can call their own space. My room is wide enough that the desk can be up front on the left side of the room across from mine. I want the students to see that we are a team. The first day is mainly for observation and getting setted in, but I give them an opportunity to read a story to the children. This also gives me an idea of how the student teacher interacts with the students.

    At the end of the first day, we sit down and talk about expectations. They often have objectives that they have to meet such as a unit plan etc. I expect my students to complete "detailed" lesson plans complete with objectives, standards, and easy to follow plans. I do not accept lesson plans that they found on the internet and just print them out. I want to know that they are capable of using the materials we have in the classroom and how they are going to incorporate them into a lesson. I certainly welcome them using technology, but not to just get a quick lesson.

    Ask for written plans at least three days before the lesson is going to be taught so that you have time to read them, discuss them, and see any revisions before the lesson day. Under no circumstances should you allow a student teacher to just "wing it". Lesson plans are a must. As a lesson is being taught, I write comments in a spiral notebook that is meant for my ST and myself. It is up to the ST whether the info is shared with the college superivisor. This helps me remember the good as well as the bad to discuss with her afterwards. She/He are also encouraged to take it home, read it over again, and write questions they would like me to answer.

    Have fun, but set professional standards. Expect your ST to dress professionally and to act as a professional toward the students. They are not their best friend or their babysitter. Encourage them to become involved in schoolwide activities or to help another coworker with a simple project. (putting up a school community bulletin board, attending Open House, helping with a book fair etc.) If these occur, be sure to include those in their recommendation letter to a prospective employer.

    I always tell my students if they have a lousy lesson, that it is OK. Take time to review what was good and what need changed and then teach it again. That's what good teachers do.

    If you do have a bad experience, don't hesitate to contact the college supervisor to help you. I had have two girls who never should have made it as far as they did, but most have been amazing and we have had so much fun.

    Good luck with your new experience. You'll be surprised how much YOU learn too!

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