Roles of Cooperating Teachers

When working as mentors, cooperating teachers (CT or CI) have multiple roles they play in support of student teachers (ST), who are just learning to handle all professional demands. On the other side, student teachers also carry out several different roles as they develop their teaching competence. When working together, cooperating teachers and student teachers who explore these 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 Cooperating Teacher as...

Mentor:
  • Help the student teacher establish realistic professional goals.
  • Assist the student teacher to achieve a life-work balance.
  • Help the student teacher develop meaningful professional relationships.
  • See the humor in situations to lighten the stress.
  • Encourage professional growth.
Role Model:
  • Demonstrate effective instructional strategies.
  • Establish a supportive and safe learning environment.
  • Model valid assessment procedures.
  • Demonstrate flexible thinking and actions.
  • Explicitly communicate the instructional decision-making process.
  • Include the student teacher in collegial relationships.
  • Demonstrate positive school-family relationships.
Collaborator/Co-Teacher:
  • Co-plan lessons and other class activities.
  • Co-teach when appropriate.
  • Share authority in the classroom.
  • Share resources and materials.
  • Include the student teacher in reflection tasks.

See: Co-Teaching With Student Teachers

Instructional Coach:
  • Clarify instructional practices in order to increase teaching efficacy.
  • Guide reflection on professional practice.
  • Rely on evidence to make decisions.
  • Reinforce appropriate actions.

See: The Coaching Role

Evaluator:
  • Complete both formative and summative evaluations according to state and university standards.
  • Write a recommendation to support the job search.

Roles & expectations recording form

cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher cooperating teacher


This roles chart was developed based on interviews and surveys with cooperating teachers and student teachers.