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Student Teacher Experience Phases

The student teacher experience can be divided into four (4) phases. The time each student teacher spends at each phase should be determined collaboratively and meet the requirements of the college or university that the student teacher is attending.

Orientation Phase

The orientation phase is the period during which the student teacher gets to know the students, establishes a professional bond with the cooperating teacher, and learns about the classroom environment and curriculum materials. At the end of this phase, the student teacher should be aware of the classroom's daily routine and understand the cooperating teacher's expectations for their students. In addition, it is helpful for the student teacher and cooperating teacher to develop a general plan for involving the student teacher in the classroom work. This plan should be flexible and fit the style of the cooperating teacher within the context of the classroom as well as the needs of the student teacher.

Shared Responsibility Phase

After the orientation phase is the shared responsibility phase. During this phase, the cooperating teacher and student teacher are engaged in collaborative lesson planning, team teaching, and assessment of student work. The student teacher might begin this phase by following the cooperating teacher's plan or assisting in instruction. However, a major goal of this phase is to assist student teachers in developing skills necessary for planning. To achieve this, the following is recommended: team planning and teaching with the cooperating teacher, developing lesson plans to be reviewed by the cooperating teacher before implementation, studying curriculum materials, and observing other teachers (including teachers in other content areas) to learn pacing, transitions and a variety of methods and strategies. The planning format is flexible and should be agreed upon by the cooperating teacher and student teacher.

Major Responsibility Phase

The third phase of the student teacher experience is the major responsibility phase. In this phase, the student teacher may be evolving into extensive planning and instructional roles during their full-time teaching experience. There will likely be variation among student teachers as to the best time to move into this phase. However, no matter when the student teacher assumes major responsibility, this should not be interpreted as when the cooperating teacher must exit the classroom. This decision should be made jointly with the principal, program supervisor, and cooperating teacher. While the student teacher might be in action much of the time, the cooperating teacher might function as a consultant or even continue as a team teacher. This is the time of the experience when a productive collaborative relationship develops between the cooperating teacher and student teacher. The amount of responsibility that the student teacher assumes is dependent upon the judgment of the cooperating teacher and principal.

Winding Down Phase

During the Winding Down Phase, the student teacher should be concluding major instructional responsibilities such as grading and assessment of student work. During this time, the student teacher should reflect on what they have learned in the placement and establish goals for continued professional growth. The student teacher should also have had a conference with the program supervisor and cooperating teacher.