For Schools & Teachers
Become a cooperating teacher
Without the collaboration of over 1000 dedicated cooperating teachers every year it would be impossible to adequately prepare our students for the challenge and reward of the teaching profession.
Who do I contact? Let your school administrator know that you would like to mentor a student teacher! ESL teachers should also contact their central school board responsable des stages to express interest in mentoring a student teacher from McGill. Office of Student Teaching staff contact school administrators with specific requests several months in advance of every field experience or internship based on the number of students registered, and the requirements of each program.
Who can receive a student? Cooperating teachers should have 5 years of experience, and be recommended by their school administrator. Student teachers are placed in all MELS-accredited public and private schools in Quebec; primarily in Montreal and the surrounding regions. Teacher Education subject profiles offered at McGill:
- Sec. English Language Arts
- Sec. Science and Technology (all subjects)
- Sec. Mathematics
- Sec. Social Science (History, Geography)
- Sec. Social Science (History, Ethics & Religious Culture)
- K/Elementary (English, French Immersion)
- English as a Second Language (Elem. & Sec.)
- Music Education (Elem. & Sec.)
- Physical and Health Education (Elem. & Sec.)
When can a student teacher be left alone?
Presence in the classroom: Responsibilities for the cooperating teacher
Cooperating teachers are mentors, coaches and models to their student teachers, and the professional expectation is that the cooperating teacher will always be within reach in case the student teacher encounters a problem. Cooperating teachers exercise good judgment as well as professional accountability toward their student teachers; aspects which are critical and essential to effective mentoring and robust supervision.
The cooperating teacher should not leave the school at any time during any field experience while they or their student teacher are 'on duty'. The cooperating teacher should always remain within reasonable reach (e.g. teacher’s lounge, library, office), and be available to step in if required.
Cooperating teachers should not assign another teacher in the school their job of mentoring and supervising a student teacher without the express knowledge and agreement of the school principal. Student teachers have encountered extremely serious and unexpected situations in their classrooms, and the presence and authority of their cooperating teacher was essential. B.Ed student teachers may never be used in the capacity of substitute teacher, whether paid or unpaid (see policy).
- Field Experience 1 (B.Ed): The student teacher should never be left alone in the classroom, even for short periods of time.
- Field Experience 2 (B.Ed): The student teacher is rarely left, and then only for reasonable periods of time (not exceeding 20 minutes).
- Field Experience 3 (B.Ed)/Internship 1 (MATL, without contract): As the field experience progresses and based on the assessment of readiness from the cooperating teacher, student teachers may be left alone to teach portions of classes or entire classes - but not for an entire day.
- Field Experience 4 (B.Ed)/Internship 2 (MATL, without contract): As the student teacher takes on the responsibility of 85-100% workload, he or she can be left alone for classes and over several days in order to confirm that the student teacher can indeed manage the classroom and teach effectively. However, feedback is still required, even at this level of the student teacher’s professional development. In order to provide that effectively, the cooperating teacher needs to spend time in the classroom observing and perhaps even team-teaching over and above those times dedicated to formal assessment.
Mentoring Team Roles and Responsibilities
School Administrator in charge of student teachers
- Ensures staff is aware of the role and responsibilities of cooperating teachers, distributes pertinent information
- Oversees arrangements for assigning the student teacher(s) to appropriate members of the school staff
- Orients student teachers to the school and acquaints them with social environment, philosophy, policies, and regulations
- Assists in coordination of student teacher's activities in the school and ensures that the student teacher is exposed to an appropriate number and range of experiences.
- Provides student teacher with opportunities to observe and, according to the guidelines of the field experience, develop a variety of teaching and learning situations within the classroom
- Exposes student teacher to a variety of teaching and management techniques
- Assigns appropriate teaching and management tasks, taking care to increase gradually the student teacher’s responsibilities
- Oversees and monitors lesson planning, observes practice teaching in accordance with field experience guidelines
- Speaks daily with the student teacher regarding their progress
- Provides student teacher with written formative feedback and assessments according to the suggested guidelines for each field experience
- Alerts Field Supervisor or Office of Student Teaching of concerns that may arise, including those that lead to the use of the Notification of Concern
- Assesses planning, teaching, and professional readiness demonstrated by the student teacher in a written summative assessment at the end of each Field Experiences
- Hands in all appropriate copies of the formative and summative evaluation forms to the student teacher as they are completed during the field experience.
- Acts as the liaison between the school and university by meeting and collaborating with the school personnel and the student teacher
- Informs cooperating teacher and student teacher about specific Field Experience guidelines, expectations and responsibilities, including formative and summative assessments, Notification of Concern, Action Plan and Portfolio
- Observes and assesses student teacher teaching lessons followed by a period of discussion. When field supervisors observe in the classroom during a formative assessment visit, it is expected that they will remain for the entire lesson. To make the most of this observation, the supervisor will want to speak with the student teacher before the lesson, and discuss the lesson with the student teacher once it is over. It is therefore necessary for the student teacher to plan, with the support of your cooperating teacher, sufficient time around the supervisor’s visits to allow for this process
- Completes formative assessment Forms and provides oral and written feedback to the student teacher
- Reports immediately to Office of Student Teaching any difficulties that may arise
- Ensures that all necessary forms are duly completed, signed and dated by the cooperating teacher in a timely fashion
- Consults with the cooperating teacher and student teacher and makes clear recommendations about the suitability of the student teacher as a future member of the teaching profession.