Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started working with my CSS student?  What does the School of Education expect from me?

Check out the getting started link in this website.  It provides tips on working with your field experience student or student teacher.    Also review the roles and responsibilities for the CSS student, cooperating teachers, and college supervisors.  Your  CSS student should contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss a schedule and requirements for their classroom experience.  One  of the first things to do is to help your CSS student become oriented to your school and class(es).  Introduce your CSS student to your students and get them involved in class activities as soon as possible.

How do I give feedback to my CSS student?

We have developed assessment tools for use to provide formal feedback to your CSS student.  This includes lesson observation forms and evaluation forms.  You can find these assessment tools using the "Forms" link in this website.  We also encourage you to provide informal feedback on a daily basis .  Another important role for you is to encourage your CSS student to reflect on their own teaching.  Below are some questions for leading a reflective conference with your student teacher:

In general:

  • Overall, how do you think the lesson went? Why?
  • In what ways do you think the lesson met your intended objectives or outcomes?
  • What did you observe about the students as you taught-what kind (or level) of learning that was going on?
  • What would you like to do differently next time?
  • What are some skills or strategies you think you need to improve your teaching?

To clarify or probe:

  • What do you mean when you said (or did)______?
  • I observed ________, what did you intend?
  • I observed________, what do you think was happening?
  • What are the assumptions behind_______?
  • On what have you based your reasoning?

References:

Danielson, C. (1998) Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Paul, R., Binker, A., Martin, D, & Adamson, K. (1989) Critical thinking handbook: A guide for redesigning instruction. Rohnert Park, CA: Sonoma State University.

Will a college supervisor be working with my CSS student?

For most field experiences and student teaching, a college supervisor is assigned to work with you and your CSS student.  Typically the college supervisor will formally observe the CSS student in your classroom.  That supervisor will also be available for conferencing with you and your CSS student as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have about this experience.

Do I stay in the classroom with my CSS student?

We ask that  field experience students are never left alone in the classroom with your students or unsupervised.  During student teaching, we do encourage cooperating teachers to leave the room for longer periods of time while the student teacher is teaching.  This allows your students to perceive that the student teacher is "in charge".  You should not leave your student teacher alone until you are confident of their ability to handle the class.  Even when you are out of the classroom, we expect you to be onsite and accessible to the student teacher if needed.

What if my CSS student or I are experiencing problems during the experience?

First, meet with your CSS student when the problem occurs  and discuss what can be done to avoid future problems.  If you are unable to resolve problems with your CSS student, the college supervisor should be contacted as soon as possible.  If necessary, a conference can be scheduled with you, your CSS student, and the college supervisor to discuss issues and decide on the best course of action to resolve any problems.  In some cases, a contract may be created specifying the  CSS student's  performance expectations to continue and succeed in this classroom experience.  If a problem or issue cannot be resolved, the CSS student my be removed from your classroom.  We want to be informed and involved as early as possible with any issues that occur.

What is the Teacher Performance Assessment and how will I be involved in this assessment?

All student teachers  in the state of Minnesota are required to complete a Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) during their student teaching experience.  This is a state-mandated initiative designed to promote better planning, reflection, and assessment for a teacher candidate.  Go to the TPA link in this website to find out more details about the TPA.

I've been asked to write a letter of recommendation for my student teacher?  What should go in a letter of recommendation?

At the conclusion of the student teaching experience, cooperating teachers typically write a letter of recommendation for student teachers. The following suggestions are offered to assist both in creating an effective representation of the student teacher's performance.

  • Use school letterhead to write a formal letter of recommendation.
  • Within the text, use the name the student teacher prefers to appear on official documents.
  • Include a brief description of the school and/or community context in which the student teacher was placed.
  • Mention the grade levels and courses/subject matter taught by the student teacher.
  • Using brief examples or anecdotes, describe two or three of the strengths you observed in the student teacher.
  • Comment on the future or potential of the student teacher as a classroom teacher.
  • Restrict the length of the letter to one or two pages.