Clinical Experience, Licensure and Accountability

The Role of the Cooperating Teacher

The key person in the entire internship experience is the cooperating teacher. The skills and methods of the cooperating teacher become a part of the teacher candidate for years to come. In addition to being a successful and experienced teacher, the teacher must be dedicated to the profession and willing to assume the responsibility of working with a teacher candidate. Minimum requirements for the position of cooperating teacher include a minimum of three years experience in the classroom; preparation through a traditional NCATE approved teacher education program, and no negative evaluations for a period of three years. Also, cooperating teachers should be willing to accept the responsibilities of a supervisor including a willingness to participate in meetings specifically for cooperating teachers.

The cooperating teacher assumes full responsibility for planning a worthwhile program of activities for the teacher intern. Time spent in planning pays off in a pleasant and successful experience for both the intern and teacher. Planning actually begins before the intern arrives, such as adjusting the schedule of classroom activities to include adequate experiences for the intern. By studying the resume in the intern’s folder, the cooperating teacher learns something about the candidate’s background, interests, and prior experiences. Cooperating teachers should use their own judgment about how much information should be shared with students in the classroom.

After the intern arrives, the task of the cooperating teacher is to familiarize the intern with the school environment and make the candidate feel a part of the staff. There is ample opportunity for this help during the first week of observation. During this week the cooperating teacher may call upon the intern to participate in routine activities that will enable him/her to adjust quickly to assigned tasks. A teacher intern is expected to attend faculty meetings, PTA meetings, assembly programs, and to participate in all school activities normally expected of classroom teachers. They are encouraged to visit other teachers in their own teaching field or grade level as well as in other fields and grade levels. It is the responsibility of the cooperating teacher to plan a program of activities which include these experiences and assures maximum benefits to the teacher intern.

The First Week in the Classroom

For the first week in the classroom, the intern should become familiar with the school. During this week the intern should observe, teach one lesson, and study carefully the following:

1.  Classroom routine
2.  Assignments
3.  Scheduling of class work
4.  Questions and problems
5.  Methods of instruction
6.  Discipline
7.  Provisions for individual differences
8.  Reaction of individual students
9.  Lesson plans used by the cooperating teacher

After the intern becomes familiar with the routine of the school, the candidate is ready for exploratory experiences with students, such as library work and various other student activities. Success with these experiences indicates that the teacher intern is ready for more advanced experiences, including studying the cooperating teacher’s records and reports, grading papers, working with individual students, and making preliminary lesson plans.

Actual Teaching Experience

When the teacher intern has developed enough poise and confidence for teaching, the cooperating teacher permits the candidate to teach a single class for which the teacher candidate has planned. After several days of teaching a single class, the teacher intern should add additional classes until the candidate moves to full time teaching. How fast the teacher intern moves to full time teaching is determined by the intern and the cooperating teacher. The number of hours actually taught by a teacher intern and the exact time for teaching must be governed by existing conditions in the school and the classroom. The more hours a teacher intern is able to teach, the better. The teacher intern should, at a minimum, teach all classes of the cooperating teacher for two full weeks.

The cooperating teacher should require that all lesson plans and units be prepared in ample time to be checked and revised before they are used by the teacher intern. Daily lesson plans should be checked at least 24 hours in advance. No intern should be allowed to teach a lesson that has not been approved.  This procedure enables the cooperating teacher to determine strengths and areas of improvement before the crucial moment of instruction by the teacher intern.

The cooperating teacher is encouraged to leave the room for brief periods of time after he/she feels the teacher intern is capable of handling the situation adequately. The teacher intern needs ample opportunity to develop initiative and use good judgment. This suggestion does not mean that the teacher intern is to be left alone for an extended period of time, nor with classes that may be difficult to control. Classes should not be turned over to a teacher intern on a moment’s notice, except in the case of an emergency. The cooperating teacher is responsible for problems which may arise in the class, even thought the cooperating teacher may be out of the room at the time.

Daily conferences should be scheduled by the cooperating teacher to include planning for the following day and week, along with discussion of the progress, strengths, and areas of improvements of the teacher intern.

All teacher interns’ absences should be reported immediately to the Office of Clinical Experience, Licensure and Accountability and to the university supervisors. There are no more than 3 excused absences in internship. Extended absences demand a withdrawal from the program for that semester. The cooperating teacher has complete authority over the teacher intern at school. Reasonable requests, suggestions, or requirements must be respected by the teacher intern. These regulations are made to help develop a thoroughly qualified teacher. Refusal to comply is grounds for dismissal from the Teacher Education Program.

Cooperating Teacher Responsibilities and Forms

  1. Work with the intern in planning a schedule of activities for the entire term. This includes a gradual release of responsibility of teaching duties to the student teacher.
  2. The intern should follow the attached calendar, attending seminars and other meetings on campus as scheduled.


  1. Attend cooperating teacher training at Delta State or at the Muse Center in Pearl. The dates are on the internship calendar. At that time, turn in your application for CEU credit.


  1. As the intern begins writing lesson plans, the cooperating teacher should approve each lesson plan at least 24 hours in advance of the teaching of that plan. Initialing each written lesson plan indicates approval by the cooperating teacher. NO INTERN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TEACH A LESSON THAT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED. At some point each day, the cooperating teacher should conference with the intern, giving feedback on lessons taught.
  2. Sign the documentation of days calendar at the end of each month with your intern.


  1. Complete the Mid-Term assessment on your intern – DUE BY THE MIDDLE OF OCTOBER and THE MIDDLE OF MARCH in the Office of Clinical Experience, Licensure and Accountability. Mail to Office of Clinical Experience, Licensure and Accountability, Box 3121 DSU, Cleveland, MS 38733 or fax to 662.846.4402.


  1. Work with the intern in planning the Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI) unit and the Impact on Student Learning (ISL). Approve the unit before it is given to the university supervisor.


  1. Evaluate the intern during the teaching of the TIAI unit and two additional formal evaluations during the semester. This evaluation will need to be submitted on Task Stream by the first of December and the first of May.

TIAI Scoring Guide

  1. Complete the dispositions assessment on your intern before the end of the semester. This evaluation will need to be submitted on Task Stream by the first of December and the first of May.