You should complete an observation/orientation of at least two/three days in your assigned school(s) prior to actually beginning student teaching. During this time you will discuss goals and expectations with the cooperating teacher, observe those classes/subject areas that will be part of your teaching responsibilities and become familiar with the routine of the school(s). During the observation/orientation period most of the time will be spent observing the cooperating teacher in his/her role as a mentor. It is important that you learn from the various strategies and techniques that will be demonstrated.
School-Related Expectations for the Student Teacher
The cooperating teacher and the student teacher should schedule a time to establish school-related expectations during the observation/orientation period. The following topics should be addressed:
- Dates/Times: for practicum periods, midterm exams, school vacations, holidays, daily time schedules, standardized testing periods, etc.
- Clarification of school policies and student teacher involvement: general discipline, record keeping, emergency procedures, homeroom, lunchroom, study hall, bus duty, library, availability of student and faculty handbooks.
- Clarification of classroom procedures: classroom management, housekeeping, bulletin boards, clerical duties, recess, etc.
- Accessibility of services: equipment, technology, duplication services, materials and supplies, faculty workrooms, faculty lunchroom, etc.
- Extra Curricular Activities: field trips, clubs, school activities, tutoring, etc.
- Meetings: parent conferences and working with families, staff development activities, faculty and/or department meetings, etc.
- Subject matter to be taught: what areas or grade levels, when will instructional responsibilities be assumed, what curriculum guides, texts, etc.?
- Planning: additional requirements for lesson plans/units, plan book, etc.
- Meeting Diverse Student Needs: students with learning disabilities, physical or emotional handicaps, ESL/bilingual students, access to IEPs, communication with support personnel.
- Instruction: grouping techniques, teaching strategies for individualization, whole class instruction, use of technology.
- Student Evaluation: homework/grades, grading papers, keeping grades and records, etc.
- Communication: student teacher and cooperating teacher conferencing schedule, procedures for addressing problems, etc.
- Scheduling a Daily Conference Time: the best time for you to meet with your cooperating teacher.
- Professional Commitment: absence-reporting procedure, make up schedule, no-school notification, etc.
School Related Expectations: Topics For Discussion Printable Chart (PDF)
Orienting Yourself to the School
It is important that you orientate yourself to the school to become familiar with all school personnel. It is also a good idea to visit the school’s website.
Topics for Discussion
Library: Introduce yourself. What are the hours? What policies are employed in the library? What access do students have to the library during school hours? How can you make use of the services of the library and the librarian as a support for your teaching?
Nurse: Introduce yourself. What are nurse’s duties? How often is the nurse available (especially if nurse travels between schools)? What services are provided to students, i.e. eye exams, dental checks, etc.? Know the accident policy.
Guidance: Introduce yourself. What services are provided to students? What access do students have to the guidance counselor during school hours? How can you make use of the services of the guidance counselor as a support for your teaching?
Special Needs/Resource Room: Introduce yourself. Make sure that you are aware of those students in your classes who receive services. How can you and the special education professional support each other’s work with your student(s)?
Technology: Is there a separate computer lab/technology facility in the school? What systems and system software are available? What is the accessibility for students, for faculty and staff? How can you make use of the technology services as a support for your teaching?
Lunchroom: How many lunch periods? What types of lunch service are available? Do they serve breakfast for students? What school policies govern students while they are in the lunchroom? How do you, as a student teacher, get a lunch?
Administrative Offices: Introduce yourself to administrators and administrative staff. Be aware of the roles of each of the administrators. Discuss how these individuals support the teacher. Request copies of student and faculty handbooks, school policy manuals (if they are available to teachers), parent handbooks, bell schedule, school calendar, etc.
NEED TO INSERT PDF OF CHART HERE