Roles of Student Teachers

A teacher's professional life is full of responsibilities and roles that incorporate different aspects of the teaching position. Most educators recognize that effective teaching results from integrating these different roles into the end product of instruction. Student teachers (ST) carry out several different roles as they develop their instructional competence. When working together, cooperating teachers (CT or CI) and student teachers who explore theses roles build communications that allow them to better support one another and to share the classroom 'space'. Under each role, we've listed sample tasks for you to consider.

The Student Teacher as...

  • Find out the school policies and procedures and why they are implemented the way they are in that building.
  • Ask questions before and after a lesson so that you understand why the CT does things a certain way. (Only ask questions during a lesson if it will improve immediate instructional functioning.)
  • Ask about existing resources.
  • Find out what the agenda is for a meeting before hand so that you can understand the functions of the participants and anticipate the outcome.
  • Split the time you spend observing between a general observation of what is going on in the classroom and time devoted to a specific focus such as: how is the room arranged, what evidence is there of a classroom management system being in place; what types and levels of questioning does the CT use, etc.?
  • Plan some time to observe teachers other than your CT.
  • Follow a specific student or group into another classroom or activity to see how they act away from your classroom. 
  • When you see a way to help the CT, take the initiative and step forward.
  • Co-plan and co-teach lessons and other class activities.
  • Share authority in the classroom.
  • Bring your ideas to the table.
  • Let your CT know what you are thinking and recognize that shared reflection will help you more efficiently grow as a teacher.

See: Co-Teaching With Student Teachers

  • Start as a collaborator but move toward taking on leadership.
  • Initiate new ideas after checking with your CT.
  • Make sure that your management system is compatible with the CT's.
Representative of the teacher preparation program:
  • Act professionally at all times.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Dress as a professional.
  • Keep everyone informed about your requirements and deadlines.
Future Employee:
  • Act as if your placement is one long job interview:  Show them your best!

Roles of cooperating teachers

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This roles chart was developed based on interviews with student teachers from the Curry School of Education at UVA.