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[teacherartexchange] Becoming a cooperating teacher/mentor


From: Pam Stephens (pgstephens_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2006 - 08:29:13 PST

As a shameless plug for "The Student Teacher Survival Guide", I invite you
to read my monthly online column for art student teachers and cooperating
teachers that is published by "SchoolArts." Last month's column was about
placement of student teachers. This month is about budgets.

For those of you who are attending the NAEA conference, Nancy Walkup (editor
of "SchoolArts" and a premiere elementary art educator) and I will be making
a presentation titled "The Student Teacher Survival Guide" on Saturday at

That said, as an art ed instructor and the coordinator of an art ed program,
I assign students to cooperating teachers and on occasion supervise them
myself. I can affirm that each university uses a slightly different method
of assigning teacher candidates to cooperating teachers. Some universities
are more rigorous than others. For example, our university is slowly
changing to a requirement that will place student teachers only with
teachers who have been approved. For the most part this means that the
cooperating teacher has gone through training. I do not know how this can
ever been enforced as our student teachers are allowed to teach throughout
the US and abroad. This semester I have 13 art ed student teachers scattered
across the globe in Belgium, Germany, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and southern
Arizona. I digress ...

I was in North Texas (HEB ISD) as an elementary art teacher for more than a
decade. During my last years in the district, I hosted up to four student
teachers a year (two back-to-back each term). To become a cooperating
teacher in North Texas there are different approaches by different school
districts. I advise you to start with your own campus.

(1) Contact your principal or art supervisor and inquire about the process.
There is likely a form that your district requires for you to file the
semester prior to taking a student teacher. If there isn't a school or
district policy, then

(2) Contact the local universities. Some of the universities will have
student teaching housed in the College of Education and others will have it
housed in the School of Art. I know TCU and UNT's contacts for art student
teachers are in the School of Art. If the university requires training of
cooperating teachers this is usually completed during Saturday or summer
sessions. Expect that if the university is NCATE accredited that the
standards for accepting a new cooperating teacher will be more higher than
those that are not accredited.

A caveat: Remember that once you are on "the list" and you prove yourself to
be a successful mentor to pre-professional educators that you will be
considered again and again as an appropriate placement. There can be
downsides to hosting a student teacher, but it is generally a rewarding
experience that results in a sort of renewal or professional development
activity for the cooperating teacher. What's the downside? We won't go
there --- but suffice to say that I have had to remove a few student
teachers and they were required to go through remediation before trying to
student teach a second (and extended) time.


Pamela Geiger Stephens, PhD
Northern Arizona University
School of Art
Department of Art Education
PO Box 6020
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6020

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