Master in Teaching

Mentoring an Evergreen MiT student teacher

Why become a mentor teacher?

Have you ever received a request from your HR Department or your principal to mentor a student teacher, and wondered what would be involved? 

We hope this brief Q/A will encourage you to work with one of our teacher candidates (student teachers). For more complete information, please read pages 7 - 11 of the Evergreen Student Teaching Handbook.

Question:  How long will the teacher candidate be in my classroom?

Answer:  Evergreen teacher candidates work in one school during the fall and in a different school in the spring. In the fall, teacher candidates are available to help you plan and to participate in in-service activities before school begins. Once the school year starts, your teacher candidate will be with you for 10 weeks. Spring teacher candidates often begin working with their mentors before the spring placement and work full time in the classroom for 10 weeks.

Question:  How much time will mentoring take? What am I expected to do?

Answer:  Mentoring does take time. The mentor is expected to introduce the teacher candidate to colleagues and students; review the candidate's lesson plans and make suggestions for improvement; observe the candidate teaching and provide regular feedback; meet with the candidate and the college supervisor at least three times during the quarter to discuss the candidate's progress; and evaluate the candidate's work using Evergreen's Student Teaching Rubric.

Question:  Do I have to leave my classroom?

Answer:  It depends! If you choose to follow the more traditional model, we ask that you allow your teacher candidate to do all the planning, teaching, and managing of the classroom for a minimum of three weeks. During that time, you remain in the building but have the opportunity to focus on future planning or professional development. If you prefer the co-teaching model (see below), you do not leave the classroom, but you do cede the leadership in planning, teaching, and management to the candidate for a minimum of three weeks.

Question:  What are the responsibilities of a teacher candidate?

Answer: The teacher candidate's primary responsibilities are to support the learning of students and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be recommended for Residency Certification. This includes collaborating with the teacher mentor to develop and implement student-centered learning opportunities that meet state and district standards; working with the mentor to improve the candidate's abilities to apply appropriate classroom and behavior management strategies; and seeking to participate in the life of the school as much as possible. In addition to meeting expectations of the mentor teacher, the teacher candidate must fulfill lesson-planning and assessment requirements of the MiT program.

Mentor teachers tell us that our candidates are well prepared, responsible, and a significant asset in the classroom. Their presence allows you to more effectively reach more of your students. From our side - we need your experience, knowledge, and skills to help prepare the next generation of teachers.

Thank you for considering welcoming an Evergreen MiT Teacher Candidate into your classroom!

You and your student teacher may choose the co-teaching model vs. the more traditional model.

If so you will need to follow these guidelines

The Co-Teaching Model

A Developmental Approach to Becoming a Teacher:
The Progression of Responsibility Using a Co-Teaching Model for Student Teaching

Evergreen's MIT program, like many teacher preparation programs in the state, is exploring the use of a co-teaching model during student teaching. The intention behind this model is that public school students, teacher candidates, and mentor teachers will all benefit from a collaborative planning and teaching relationship between the candidate and the mentor.  Mentors and candidates who agree to use the co-teaching model also agree to follow the guidelines and employ the co-teaching strategies described in this document.

St. Cloud University has conducted extensive research about the efficacy of co-teaching. Based on their research and co-teaching model, we are implementing the co-teaching model as described below. Though the mentor teacher remains in the classroom co-teaching with the teacher candidate for the entire quarter, the teacher candidate gradually assumes more leadership in the relationship.  Before student teaching begins, the MIT faculty supervisor, mentor teacher, and teacher candidate discuss and agree on a timeline that allows the candidate to progressively assume leadership in the co-planning and co-teaching relationship. A sample progression may be:

  1. The mentor assumes leadership in co-planning, modeling, and co-teaching for the first two or three weeks with the candidate engaging in one or more of the teaching strategies described in St. Cloud University's plan.
  2. The mentor and candidate then work together to co-plan and co-teach for two weeks using the team teaching model described on the next page.
  3. The teacher candidate then takes the lead in the planning (i.e., the candidate needs to show responsibility in making planning decisions) and co-teaching for at least three weeks with the mentor engaging in one or more of the co-teaching strategies described on the next page. The teacher candidate in the leadership role provides the candidate with an important developmental opportunity, roughly equivalent to solo teaching in the traditional student teaching model, even though the mentor is still in the room.
  4. The mentor and candidate decide on the appropriate division of responsibilities for the weeks remaining in the quarter.

The information provided by St. Cloud University describes what co-teaching is and is not, and defines a range of teaching strategies to be used by the teacher candidate and mentor as part of co-teaching.  To implement this model, the mentor teacher, teacher candidate, and college supervisor work collaboratively to select the teaching strategies that will be implemented to meet:

    • the needs of the students, staff, and school,
    • MIT's requirements for lesson planning and completion of the EALR/Positive Impact on Student Learning Project, and, 
    • requirements necessary for candidates to reach standard on the MIT Student Teaching Rubric and the State of Washington Performance-Based Pedagogy Assessment (please see Student Teaching Handbook - Assessment Guide).

Co-Teaching: Why, What, and How

Co-teaching is defined as two teachers working together with groups of students and sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction and physical space.

Why co-teaching?

  • Increased options for flexible grouping of students
  • Enhanced collaboration skills for the teacher candidate and cooperating teacher
  • Professional support for both the cooperating teacher and the teacher candidate
  • Another set of eyes to watch and help problem solve
  • Flexibility to try things you wouldn't be as willing to do alone
  • Help in classroom and lesson preparation
  • Help with classroom management
  • Diversity and size of today's classrooms
    • Reduce student/teacher ratio
    • Increase instructional options for all students
    • Diversity of instructional styles
    • Greater student engaged time
    • Greater student participation levels

What co-teaching is Not

  • Simply dividing the tasks and responsibilities between two people.
  • For example, co-teaching is NOT:
    • One person teaching one subject followed by another who teaches a different subject
    • One person teaching one subject while another person prepares instructional materials at the Xerox machine or corrects student papers in the teachers' lounge
    • One person teaching while the other sits and watches
    • When one person's ideas prevail regarding what will be taught and how it will be taught
    • Someone is simply assigned to act as a tutor

Co-Teaching Strategies - How to Shape the Co-Teaching Experience

Team Teaching - well-planned, team-taught lessons exhibit an invisible flow of instruction with no prescribed division of authority.  Using a team teaching strategy, both teachers are actively involved in the lesson. From a student's perspective, there is no clearly defined leader, as both teachers share the instruction and are free to interject information and are available to assist students and answer questions.

One Teach, One Observe - One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other gathers specific observational information on students or the (instructing) teacher

One Teach, One Drift - One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other teacher assists students with their work, monitors behaviors or corrects assignments

Station Teaching - The co-teaching pair divide the instructional content into parts - each teacher instructs one of the groups. The groups then rotate or spend a designated amount of time at each station.  Often an independent station will be used.

Parallel Teaching - Each teacher instructs half of the students. The two teachers are addressing the same instructional material and presenting the material using the same teaching strategy. The greatest benefit is the reduction of the student to teacher ration.

Supplemental Teaching - This strategy allows one teacher to work with students at their expected grade level while the co-teacher works with those students who need the information and/or materials extended or remediated.

Alternative/Differentiated Teaching - Alternative teaching strategies provide two different approaches to teaching the same information. The learning outcome is the same for all students; however, the avenue for getting there is different.