Cooperating Teacher - Cooperating Teachers are school-based teachers in a PDS who serve as the mentor teacher for a teacher candidate, Resident or student teacher. Cooperating teachers model classroom practices that support the benchmark expectations for the university students they mentor and supervise.  The responsibilities of a Cooperating Teacher include co-planning, co-teaching, and observing/conferencing with the FSU teacher candidate. Cooperating Teachers collaborate with the PDS Site Coordinator and the university Supervisor to assess the performance of the candidates, Residents and student teachers, to make decisions about the readiness for increased responsibilities, and to determine evaluation and final grades.

Professional development is provided for Cooperating Teachers by Site Coordinators and the PDS Partnership Office.

The Fairmont State University office of clinical experiences selects cooperating teachers from the schools involved in the PDS partnership.  The cooperating teachers are those that model best practices and serve as exceptional role models for future teachers. 

WV Policy 5100 5.17.a states:

Effective July 1, 2018, at a minimum, the cooperating educator should:

  • hold a valid West Virginia five-year teaching credential in the content area of the candidate placed in his/her classroom with a minimum of five years of teaching experience;
  • hold "Accomplished" or higher as a summative performance rating on the West Virginia Educator Evaluation during the last two years of employment; AND
  • have successfully completed a WVBE-approved mentor/induction coaching course, at no cost to the teacher, OR hold or be eligible for the Master Mentor Advanced Credential OR hold certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

In addition, Fairmont State University adheres to these additional requirements:

  • be recommended by the school principal;
  • enter into a contractual agreement that semester with Fairmont State University to accept student teachers and Residents and receive a stipend for their work;
  • have agreed to demonstrate leadership skills and assist the teacher candidate/student teacher or Resident throughout their placement.

Generally, only one student teacher will be placed with any host teacher, but this may be modified when necessary, if the situation is advantageous to the student teacher and Fairmont State University.

The role of the cooperating teacher is to serve as model, guide, and instructor for the teacher candidates. While the primary responsibility is always to the students in the classroom, you will want to be aware that the teacher candidate is someone who is growing in competence and needing assistance while gradually assuming an increasing amount of responsibility. Though teacher candidates will make mistakes and need the benefit of constructive criticism, cooperating teachers will want to avoid making the criticism public in such a way that impairs the relationship between teacher candidates and students in the classroom.

The cooperating teacher has agreed to the following responsibilities:

  • Inform the students, parents, and building personnel of the FSU clinical student’s arrival.
  • Collect district, building, classroom, and curricular materials for the clinical student, Resident or Student Teacher
  • Provide a work and storage space.
  • Refer to the provided schedule that will enable the Resident or  Student Teacher to gradually assume teaching and other responsibilities.
  • Introduce the Resident/ Student Teacher to the principal and all significant personnel within the building
  • Share gathered materials including classroom management and evaluation systems.
  • Discuss expectations, building regulations, and use of building and classroom equipment.
  • Formalize the Resident/ Student Teacher's schedule with input from the University Supervisor.
  • Explain developmental and unique learning characteristics of your students.
  • Model instructional procedures and encourage discussion about pedagogy.
  • Provide opportunities for the Resident/Student Teacher to observe teaching, parent conferences if appropriate, and instructional support procedures.
  • Provide opportunities for the Resident/ Student Teacher to collaborate with personnel responsible for supporting students with special needs and those who are linguistically and/or culturally diverse.
  • Confer with Resident/Student Teacher on a daily basis and frequently provide written and verbal feedback.
  • Interact with the University Supervisor when he/she visits and by phone, virtual conference or e-mail whenever successes and concerns arise
  • Complete all required assessments in TaskStream and conference with Resident/student teacher about documents