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Mentoring a student teacher in a Partner School District — how things have changed

(D. Parkinson, April 2006; updated with terminology by K. Persichitte, October 2007)

“Traditional” Student Teaching Model

Mentoring in a Partner School District

Student teacher placements are made solely by the district

University “supervisor” visits 1-2 times per semester

Only 1-3 student teachers are placed in each school

University student teacher experience is primary focus

Mentor teacher solely responsible for planning student teacher experience

Mentor teacher leaves the classroom frequently while student teacher “takes over”

Mentor teacher solely responsible for debriefing, reflecting, providing feedback, and evaluating student teacher

No focus on professional development

No focus on research

Often little appreciation for mentor teachers’ time, expertise, & commitment

Student teacher placements are made collaboratively with district & university faculty

During the Residency semester, university methods faculty participate in Partner School activities with mentors and student teachers in the district on a scheduled, regular basis

A cohort of student teachers are placed in each school (ideally with all eligible mentor teachers), creating peer support groups for student and mentor teachers and a critical mass for change

University student teacher experience & student learning are the primary focus through participation in a collaborative partnership

Partner School “team” (mentor, university faculty, & student teacher) plans and customizes the Residency experience to create a good “fit” for each mentor teacher, classroom of students, school, and student teacher

Mentor teacher and student teacher co-teach frequently to provide students with small group instruction and 1:1 support for at risk students

Student teachers attend regular seminars for additional debriefing, reflecting, and feedback.  3-way conferences (mentor/student teacher/university faculty) are a Partner School staple

Professional development is an integral part of the collaborative community for both district & university faculty

When possible, research projects are incorporated into Partner School activities—as graduate work for mentors pursuing an advanced degree, to meet the needs of the district, and/or to meet the tenure requirements for the university faculty

Partner School partnership is built on mutual respect, trust, and appreciation for the experience and expertise that each brings to the mentoring of the preservice teacher in the final transition to “teacher’


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