The role of Mentor Teachers is to move beyond short-term technical and emotional support and work with Teaching Residents to focus on students and their learning. Mentor Teachers engage, inspire, assist, encourage, and advance the professional learning of Teaching Residents. Mentor Teachers serve as models of professional conduct and demonstrate excellence in teaching. Mentor Teachers are committed to learning across the professional lifespan, and demonstrate understanding of student and adult development and learning styles, content, pedagogy, educational context, and learning standards.
Mentor Teachers' responsibilities include:
- Contributing to Innovative Teacher Preparation
- Creating an open classroom environment that is welcoming to TR@TC residents, staff, and other visitors from Teachers College
- Participating in triad conferences with resident and TR@TC supervisor at least 2 times a semester
- Collaborating with resident to co-plan, co-teach, analyze student data and reflect on lessons and units
- Participating in weekly planning meetings with the resident for at least one dedicated hour per week
- Completing TR@TC residency and mentor teacher assessments
- Attending required TR@TC mentor teacher orientation in August or September and monthly professional development sessions in September, October, January, February, April and May
- Participating in full-day retreats with residents in November and March
- Providing feedback to TR@TC about the mentor teacher professional development and support at TR@TC end of year retreat in June
Participating in Professional Development and Reflecting on Mentoring Experience
Collaboration is Key: Co-teaching and Co-planning in Residency Classrooms
| In August 2011, the Teaching Residents at Teachers College (TR@TC) program introduced the Co-teaching in Student Teaching model to Teaching Residents, Mentor Teachers, and Residency Supervisors. Residents were introduced to this co-teaching model in their Intensive Summer Institute. Mentor Teachers and Supervisors were introduced to the new model during orientation at the start of the academic year. |
What is the co-teaching in student teaching model?
Developed as part of the Teacher Quality Enhancement grant at St. Cloud State University, "co-teaching in student teaching enables two professionally prepared adults to collaborate in the classroom, actively engaging students for extended periods of time...It affords teachers opportunities to incorporate co-teaching strategies, groups and [educate] student in ways that are not possible with just one teacher" (St. Cloud State University, Teacher Quality Enhancement Center, 2010, p. 4).The co-teaching in student teaching model provides an opportunity for Teaching residents to be actively involved in the classroom from the first day in their residency placement. Teaching Residents and Mentor Teachers co-plan together for at least one hour a week, during which time they discuss their roles during instruction, flesh out responsibilities for planning, and collaborate on ways to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom. During instruction, Mentor Teachers and Teaching Residents share instructional responsibility using the different strategies of co-teaching.
Why Co-teaching in Student Teaching?
The Co-teaching in Student Teaching model is designed to support Teaching Residents' development as inclusive educators and disrupt current notions of student teaching in residency placements. Research suggest that the co-teaching in student teaching model builds stronger connections between universities and partnership schools, provides more opportunities for Residents to teach, enhances communication skills between Mentor Teachers and Teaching Residents, and leads to greater student learning outcomes than traditional student teaching models (Cook & Friend, 1995).
In addition, "collaborative team teaching" or "integrated co-teaching" services are increasingly prevalent in New York City public schools. Through this co-teaching model, Residents are prepared to use and become familiar with co-teaching models and strategies in place in New York City public schools prior to entering the classroom as teachers of record.
What Makes Co-teaching in Student Teaching Successful?
The two key pieces in this co-teaching model are attitude and co-planning. Mentor Teachers and Teaching Residents must believe that they are partners in the educational process and teachers in the classroom. Furthermore, Mentor Teachers and Teaching Residents must view each other as integral members of an instructional team.
The crux of a successful co-teaching partnership is the co-planning that takes place prior to instruction. During weekly co-planning time, Mentor Teachers and Residents decide which co-teaching strategy to use and identify the parts of the lesson that they will plan individually. At the beginning of the year, Mentor Teachers take the lead in co-planning. As the year progresses, the Residents assume increased responsibility in co-planning activities.
What are Strategies for Co-teaching in Student Teaching?
Adapted from Cook and Friend (1995), the Co-teaching in Student Teaching model employs seven basic strategies for co-teaching. During co-planning, Mentor Teachers and Residents decide which strategies to use in subsequent lessons. These strategies include:
What are Some Important Points to Remember in Co-teaching in Student Teaching?
Adapted from St. Cloud University (2010). Mentoring Teacher Candidates Through Co-Teaching: Collaboration that Makes a Difference. St. Cloud, Minnesota: Teacher Quality Enhancement Center.Cook, L. & Friend, M. (1995). Co-Teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1-17.