Student teaching at Monmouth University is a comprehensive experience. It provides linkage between the research and theory-based instruction of the university teacher preparation program, the world of pedagogical decision-making, and classroom teacher implementation.
The vision of this program, which is linked to the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers (NJPST), the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCCS), the Common Core State Standard (CCSS) and the Specialty Professional Association (SPA) Standards for each discipline, is for each candidate to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to have a positive effect on student learning.
Student teaching provides an opportunity for teacher candidates to practice and refine their knowledge and skills under the supervision and guidance of exceptional master teachers, (cooperating teachers), and Monmouth University Clinical Faculty who have dedicated their careers to education and a lifetime of student learning.
Student Teaching Cooperating Teacher Selection, Roles, and Responsibilities
The role of the mentor teacher, in accordance with the NJ Professional Standards for Teachers, N.J.A.C. #6A:9-10.3 (d), is critical to the professional development of teacher candidates. It is one of the most important and meaningful roles in the preparation of future teachers. Monmouth University’s student teaching program has as its central mission the recruitment of exemplary cooperating teachers who excel as instructors who focus on student learning and mentor our teacher candidates. We are committed to recruiting highly effective teachers who have demonstrated their positive impact on student achievement and who have also demonstrated the ability to mentor an adult or have been trained to do so.
The National Research Council has identified field work as one of the three aspects of teacher preparation likely to have the highest potential for positive effects on outcomes for students. Student teaching, then, is one of the most important learning activities a future teacher will experience before assuming the responsibilities of a classroom. This guided practice in a real-life situation allows teacher candidates to observe, practice, and test their skills in controlled situations. The teacher candidates is a novice who will look to the cooperating teacher for help, guidance, suggestions, and support. It is imperative that the cooperating teacher frame and nurture the efforts of the teacher candidate in a manner that positively affects the learning of teacher candidates and P-12 students.
The cooperating teacher models teaching behaviors, differentiated instruction, and multiple assessment strategies, and explains to the teacher candidate what they did and why they made certain decisions. The results of effective teaching practice on student learning need to be made clear to this beginning professional. As the teacher candidate begins to accept instructional assignments, the cooperating teacher offers to act as a sounding board as the candidate examines and evaluates his/her own teaching decisions and performance through the process of professional reflection. The cooperating teacher discusses and collaborates with the teacher candidate as he/she strives to demonstrate excellence in teaching the 21st century skills needed for success in a global economy. The cooperating teacher also discusses and collaborates with the teacher candidate as he/she develops and implements the required Teacher Work Sample unit of instruction.
Placements for student teaching will be made in districts that are committed to maximizing the potential for student teaching as a part of their human capital strategy because they see student teaching as an opportunity to train, screen and recruit new hires. Placements are made in schools that are functional environments, considering such factors as whether the school is high-performing, safe, stable, supportive and collegial. To the extent possible, high-poverty schools that are high-performing will be sought and utilized for student teaching placements, even if the relative shortage of such placements requires the use of novel student teaching arrangements. University school partnership districts and constituent districts in which student teaching placements are contemplated must be willing to work collaboratively in the process of selecting cooperating teachers to provide information on all nominated teachers relative to this institution’s selection criteria.
The Office of Certification, Field Placements and School Partnerships works closely with school district personnel in the selection of cooperating teachers for a full semester of full-time student teaching. District administrators are asked to identify potential cooperating teachers that meet our criteria as indicated in the student teaching placement request. Once a principal recommends a qualified potential cooperating teacher, the nominees are informed of our criteria and expectations and asked to complete an application to serve as a cooperating teacher. Monmouth University keeps an extensive database on the effectiveness of cooperating teachers which is updated every semester. This data, along with the principal recommendation and cooperating teacher application, is used to select cooperating teachers who have a positive impact on student learning and possesses mentorship skills. The Director of Field Placements communicates with school district administrators and staff throughout the student teaching placement process. This ensures that each student teacher is placed with a cooperating teacher who can best mentor the student teacher in completing their Monmouth University program and do all that is required for New Jersey state teaching certification.
To serve as a cooperating teacher, a teacher must:
- Hold a valid standard New Jersey teaching certificate authorizing him/her to teach in the field and/or grade level.
- Be recommended by the principal and/or the district.
- Have at least three years of teaching experience.
- Have a thorough knowledge of subject matter and use such knowledge to create interactive learning experiences and varied assessments for P-12 students that have a positive effect on their achievement.
- Demonstrate positive communication skills and effective classroom environment strategies.
- Appreciate individual differences, show respect for the diverse talents of learners, and be committed to helping them develop self-confidence and competence.
- Plan instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, of students, and of curriculum goals and models and the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Common Core State Standards.
- Demonstrate excellence in teaching and the 21st century skills needed for success in a global economy.
- Be a lifelong learner who seeks opportunities for continued growth.
- Possess and exhibit high expectations for students.
- Work as an effective team member with the school administration and university clinical faculty members.
- Collaborate with colleagues and parents.
- Participate in University professional development training for cooperating teacher/mentor.
- Be familiar with and model New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers and relevant Specialty Professional Standards.
We at Monmouth University acknowledge our cooperating teachers’ commitment to the professional and their valuable service and guidance to our teacher candidates. Exemplary cooperating teachers are recognized yearly in a formal awards ceremony.
For Cooperating Teacher’s Roles and Responsibilities, please refer to the Monmouth University School of Education Student Teaching Handbook.