Cooperating Teachers / Clinical Faculty


Cooperating teachers are selected because of their strong dedication to the teaching profession, their history as highly skilled and effective teachers, their willingness to mentor someone into the teaching profession, and their high level of professional ethics.  Click on the items below for information about selected topics of interest to cooperating teachers.  (More detailed information is found in the Student Teaching Performance Guide and the Cooperating Teacher Orientation.)


Cooperating Teacher Qualifications


Cooperating Teacher Responsibilities






Clinical Faculty Training


Clinical Faculty Tuition Waivers



Cooperating Teacher Qualifications


·         A valid Virginia Collegiate Professional License with proper endorsement for the teaching assignment.

·         Three years (minimum) experience as a successful classroom teacher.

·         A commitment to life-long learning as evidenced by work towards a master's degree, workshops, college credits, or other types of activities that assist the teacher in increasing his/her knowledge and performance related to the teaching profession.

·         Recognized expertise in subject matter knowledge and current and varied instructional strategies for the classroom.

·         Skill in effective classroom management techniques

·         Knowledge of school/community relations

·         Strong oral and written communication skills.

·         Strong organizational skills.

·         Excellent human relations skills.

·         Experience in working with adults and/or student teachers.

·         A desire, willingness, and ability to work cooperatively with colleagues and student teachers.


Cooperating Teacher Responsibilities


The following cooperating teacher responsibilities have been organized in a format consistent with the teaching/learning process and the major categories of the student teacher performance assessment instrument. Student teaching forms used by cooperating teachers may be found in Handbooks and Forms.


1.  Planning  and the Student Teaching Experience


a.   Plan and provide the student teacher with an initial orientation to the assigned school and the classroom.


b.   Meet with the student teacher to provide and discuss basic instructional materials, faculty and student handbooks; to share an overview of the school faculty and the working relationships in the school; and to make plans and review expectations for class(es).


c.   Orient the student teacher to the school planning process; help the student teacher establish objectives for the pupils; and provide specific expectations and deadlines for daily lesson plans, unit plans, and pupil evaluation.


d.   Plan with the student teacher and the university supervisor for the student teacher's early induction into the teaching process and gradual assumption of full responsibility for classroom instruction.


e.   Plan with the university supervisor for continuous evaluation of the student teacher's performance in all phases of teaching.


2.   Climate and the Student Teaching Experience


a.   Develop and provide a teaching/learning atmosphere that supports dialogue and discussion, share advice and constructive feedback, and encourage open communication for the student teacher's self-reflection and professional growth. 


b.   Establish a teaching/learning climate that is conducive to student learning and that allows the student teacher to develop skills in planning and provides opportunities for him/her to test theory and practice in the classroom.


c.   Foster the support of building-level administrators, staff, and other faculty.


3.   Teaching and the Student Teaching Experience


a.    Review and provide feedback on the student teacher's lesson plans prior to their being taught.


b.    Observe the student teacher informally each day and provide oral feedback on both classroom management skills and at least one lesson or activity. 


c.    Serve as a resource person to the student teacher regarding the teaching process, supplies, equipment and curriculum responsibilities.


d.    Work cooperatively with the university supervisor to see that the student teacher is meeting university goals and expectations.


e.    Work cooperatively with the university supervisor to monitor the student teacher's readiness to assume increased classroom teaching responsibilities and to provide those additional opportunities as appropriate.


f.     Provide increasing feedback and support as the student teacher assumes full responsibility for classroom instruction.




4.       Reflection, Collaboration, and Communication  and the Student Teaching Experience


a.   Keep the student teacher apprised of his/her progress at all times and revise goals and expectations as necessary.


b.   Meet formally with the student teacher at least once a week to discuss his/her progress, review short- and long-term instructional plans, and identify specific objectives to work on the following week.  Complete the student teaching planning form (ST-3) with the student teacher during this conference.


c.   Keep the university supervisor and the building principal informed of the student teacher's progress on a regular basis.


d.   Complete written four-week and final student teacher evaluations (ST-9) in cooperation with the university supervisor.


e.   Provide the student teacher with opportunities for professional growth by encouraging observations of other educators, attendance at professional meetings, and participation in the entire school's program.


Cooperating teachers should share teaching activities with the student teacher in a variety of ways, and eventually leave him/her alone in the classroom for extended periods of time.  Brief periodic absences not only will provide minimum disruption to the class, but also will help ease the student teacher's transition to full-time teaching responsibilities.  Remember, though, that "soloing" does not imply that cooperating teachers must leave the student teacher alone all day; observations and feedback on teaching skills are even more critical as the he/she assumes a greater teaching role.  It is the total responsibility for teaching each day that is important, not just being alone in the classroom.





JMU encourages cooperating teachers and student teachers to focus on improving K-12 student achievement through a variety of co-teaching strategies.  Five co-teaching approaches are briefly discussed below.  They include:



For a more detailed discussion of these strategies, with helpful implementation suggestions developed by experienced clinical faculty, please see Partners for Student Achievement: A Co-Teaching Resource Handbook.




With this model one teacher has the primary responsibility for planning and teaching, while the other teacher moves around the classroom helping individuals and observing particular behaviors.  For example, one teacher could present the lesson while the other walks around or one teacher presents the lesson while the other distributes materials.


Some advantages of this approach are:


* Students receive individual help in a timely manner

* It's easier to keep students on task because of the proximity of the teacher.

* It saves time when distributing materials.

* As a process observer, the supporting teacher can observe behavior not seen by the teacher directing the lesson.

* The supporting teacher can walk around and still continue to observe the other teacher model good teaching practices.


Some disadvantages of this approach are:


* Through the eyes of the students, one teacher has more control than the other.

* Students often relate to one person as the teacher and the other as a teacher's aide.

* Having a teacher walk around during the lesson may be distracting to some students.

* Students begin to expect immediate one-on-one assistance.




In parallel teaching, the teacher and student teacher plan jointly but split the classroom in half to teach the same information at the same time.  For example, both teachers could be explaining the same math problem-solving lesson in two different parts of the room.  If the room had two computers, each teacher could use a computer to model the use of the Internet or a new piece of software to half of the class.  Each half of the class could be involved in a literature study group during a novel study.


Some advantages of this approach are:


* Preplanning provides better teaching.

* It allows teachers to work with smaller groups.

* Each teacher has the comfort level of working separately to teach the same lesson.

* Splitting the class allows students to be separated who need to be.


Some disadvantages of this approach are:


* Both teachers need to be competent in the content so the students will learn equally.

* The pace of the lesson must be the same so they finish at the same time.

* There must be enough flexible space in the classroom to accommodate two groups.

* The noise level must be controlled.




In alternative teaching, one teacher manages most of the class while the other teacher works with a small group inside or outside of the classroom.  The small group does not have to integrate with the current lesson.  For example, a teacher could take an individual student out to catch him/her up on a missed assignment.  A teacher could work with an individual or a small group for assessment purposes or to teach social skills.  A small group of students could work together for remedial or extended challenge work.


Some advantages of this approach are:


* Working with small groups or with an individual helps meet the personal needs of students.

* Both teachers can remain in the classroom, so one teacher can informally observe the other modeling good teaching.


Some disadvantages of this approach are:


* Groups must vary with purpose and composition or the students in the group will quickly become labeled (e.g., the "smart" group).

* The students might view the teacher working with the larger group as the teacher in control.

* Noise level must be controlled if both teachers are working in the classroom.

* There must be adequate space.




Both teachers divide the instructional content, and each takes responsibility for planning and teaching part of it.  In station teaching, the classroom is divided into various teaching centers.  The teacher and student teacher are at particular stations; the other stations are run independently by the students or by a teacher's aide.  For example, three or more science stations, each containing a different experiment, could be organized with the teacher and student teacher working with the two stations that need the most supervision.  It is also possible to use an aide or parent volunteer to supervise stations.


Some advantages of this approach are:


* Each teacher has a clear teaching responsibility.

* Students have the benefit of working in small groups.

* Teachers can cover more material in a shorter period of time.

* Fewer discipline problems occur because students are engaged in active, hands-on learning.

* It is possible to separate students who need to work away from each other.

* This approach maximizes the use of volunteers or extra adults in the room.


Some disadvantages of this approach are:


* To work effectively, this approach requires a lot of preplanning.

* All materials must be prepared and organized in advance.

* The noise level will be at a maximum.

* All stations must be paced so teaching ends at the same time.

* One or more groups must work independently of the teacher.




Both teachers are responsible for planning, and they share the instruction of all students.  The lessons are taught by both teachers who actively engage in conversation, not lecture, to encourage discussion by students.  Both teachers are actively involved in the management of the lesson and discipline.  This approach can be very effective with the classroom teacher and a student teacher or two student teachers working together.


Some advantages of this approach are:

* Each teacher has an active role.

* Students view both teachers as equals.

* Both teachers are actively involved in classroom organization and management.

* This approach encourages risk taking.  Teachers may try things in pairs that they wouldn't try alone.

* "Two heads are better than one."


Some disadvantages of this approach are:


* Preplanning takes a considerable amount of time.

* Teachers' roles need to be clearly defined for shared responsibility.





The Honorarium Voucher is mailed to cooperating teachers at their school during the second week of the student teaching placement. 


A new form must be returned each time cooperating teachers have a student teacher.  The ESC maintains the submitted information on a secure database.   Because honorariums are processed through the JMU accounts payable office, the ESC must follow JMU accounts payable procedures and schedules.  Some of the requested information is required for processing the honorarium.  Other information is for accreditation purposes. 


Honorarium Payroll Schedule


Paperwork received by:

Checks mailed by:

Oct 1

Nov 16

Nov 1

Dec 16

Dec 1

Jan 16

Feb 1

Mar 16

Apr 1*

May 16

July 15**

Aug 30


*All teachers who have student teachers during the 1st and 2nd semester of the school year must return their vouchers by April 1st.


**Honorariums for cooperating teachers who work with students during the May or summer session must return their vouchers by July 15th


Directions for completing the honorarium voucher


1.  Complete and/or update all information requested on the voucher.  Pay special attention to any items that are blank or underlined. 


2.   Be certain that the legal name matches the name that appears on the Social Security card. 


3.  Complete a W-9 form if not previously submitted.  If the ESC does not have a W-9 on file we cannot process the honorarium payment.


4.  Return the honorarium voucher and W-9 form directly to the Education Support Center.  (A self- addressed, prepaid envelope is provided in the packet mailed to each cooperating teacher.)



Clinical Faculty Training


Clinical faculty are cooperating teachers who have received a two-day special training for mentoring student teachers.  JMU is a member of the MidValley Consortium for Teacher Education, which offers this training for cooperating teachers in the Augusta, Harrisonburg, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Staunton, and Waynesboro schools.   Prospective clinical faculty are nominated by principals in the member school divisions, and the training is offered twice a year usually in late October or early November, and then again in April or May. 


Clinical faculty are expected to complete weekly formal observations and play a greater role in supervising their student teachers.  They receive an increased honorarium in recognition of their additional responsibilities.  Clinical faculty serve three-year renewable appointments and must attend at least one refresher workshop during each three-year period.



Clinical Faculty Tuition Waivers


Clinical faculty who supervise JMU practicum students or student teachers or collaborate with JMU teacher education programs in other defined ways also earn "units" that can be accumulated to waive tuition for a JMU course.  The number of units earned is based on various roles and levels of involvement with our JMU faculty or students; a tuition waiver for a three-credit course requires 300 units.  Tuition vouchers are not transferable and may not be redeemed for partial tuition.   They may be used for three-hour courses at the University in which there is space available.  This waiver does not apply to courses offered through Outreach Programs or other self-supporting programs, except as provided by university policy.


Vouchers for units earned are issued at the end of each semester.  Units cannot be awarded for work with students from other higher education institutions, nor will these units apply to tuition waivers at other institutions.