Cooperating Teacher

teacherThank you for working with teacher candidates from Marshall University.  Your willingness to help us support the learning, growth and development of teacher candidates speaks to your commitment to quality teaching.

We know that mentoring candidates is a difficult responsibility to undertake, given the need to delicately balance, support, and guide with critique and evaluation.

As a cooperating teacher, you are responsible for moving new teachers from a focus on theory to a focus on application and student learning. The College of Education and Professional Development depends on you—your careful observation, astute judgment, fair and candid feedback and informed assessment—to be able to confidently recommend our graduates for teacher certification.

At the heart of supervision is determining teacher candidates’ readiness for teaching and certification.  Some teacher candidates may experience difficulty during their placements that might lead to failure.  Your feedback and support is necessary to guide them through the experience as they continue their preparation into teaching.

It is important that detailed documentation is kept and communicated to ensure the candidate is receiving the supports necessary for success. You are an essential piece of the teacher candidate’s training.

We also want our candidates to reach their full potential as teachers.  As such you will find that not all students need the same structure.  However, you need to ensure that all assessments are fair and that all students are held to the same rigorous standard of quality teaching expected from Marshall University.

Download Cooperating Teacher Handbook

Cooperating Teacher Guidelines

Cooperating teachers serve a vital role as liaison, resource, and support for the teacher candidate, university and the cooperating school during clinical placements.

Cooperating teachers should:

  • Provide teacher candidates with a safe environment to complete their clinical placement.
  • Model a cycle of plan-teach-reflect with clinical student.
  • Coach clinical student throughout placement to ensure the student is on-level for a beginning level teacher.
  • Provide consistent feedback to clinical student on all aspects of teaching including lesson planning, classroom management, student interactions, reflections, etc.
  • Counsel with individual teacher candidates about their personal and professional concerns.
  • Provide teacher candidates and cooperating teachers with resource materials, such as handbooks and guides.
  • Motivate the teacher candidate to be creative and try new strategies.
  • Work with teacher candidates, university supervisors, and principals to plan and to evaluate programs and schedules for teacher candidates.
  • Guide teacher candidates to interpret their school experiences and to assist with special instructional problems.
  • Collect and interpret all evaluative information regarding teacher candidates and arrive at their final grades and ratings, using appropriate program criteria.

Cooperating Teacher Resources


An evaluation of the teacher candidate is completed at each clinical level.  In Level I, the evaluation is based on the college’s dispositions and is completed  by the cooperating teacher only.  This evaluation is available online here.  The teacher candidate will receive a copy of the evaluation through email.

In Level II, the university supervisor will work collaboratively with the classroom teacher to complete two evaluations on the candidate:  a mid-term and a final evaluation.  The College of Education and Professional Development has aligned the Level II Clinical Evaluation to the West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards (WVPTS).

The Level II Evaluation (mid-term and final) is completed online here.  The candidate, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor will all received a copy of the evaluation through email for their records.

The Level III Clinical Evaluation is also completed collaboratively between the university supervisor and cooperating teacher.  The College of Education and Professional Development has aligned the Level III Clinical Evaluation to the West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards (WVPTS) and National Content Standards for each licensure area.

The Level III Evaluation is completed online here.  The candidate, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor will all received a copy of the evaluation through email for their records.

Observations (Level II and III only)

Cooperating teachers are in the classroom with the teacher candidate each day and constantly observing the candidate.  This allows the cooperating teacher many opportunities to provide feedback and suggestions to the candidate.  To formalize these comments, the cooperating teacher is asked to complete two formal observations on the candidate.

The purpose of the observation is to provide candidates with feedback into their strengths and weaknesses in teaching.

The support and feedback provided is invaluable to the growth of the candidate as an educator.  In the Level II clinical experience, the university supervisor should complete a minimum of two formal observations, which are available online here.

In the Level III or student teaching experience, the university supervisor should complete a minimum two formal observations for each placement (total of four minimum).   The Level III observation is available online at here.  Additional observations can be completed as needed.  In each level, a copy of the observation will be emailed to the candidate, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor.

Supervisors should conference with candidates at the completion of each observation to support and address areas of concern.   It is critical that the teacher candidate is aware of any “areas to improve” or “dispositions” on which he/she must specifically work to improve.

Addressing Issues

Document, document, document. 

Document all issues or concerns that arise during the candidate’s placement. Conference with the Office of Clinical Experience early and often to address issues. When necessary, the clinical office may change the candidate’s placement or place the candidate on a plan of improvement.

A plan of improvement can be written for any clinical student who performs unsatisfactorily in one or more areas including dis-positional areas. A plan of improvement is a contract between the teacher candidate, cooperating teacher, university supervisor and clinical office whereby all parties set goals and agree to meet those goals centered around improving the clinical student’s performance.

Candidates can be put on plans of improvements whenever deemed necessary by either the cooperating teacher or university supervisor. Supervisors are encouraged to document everything so they will have support for creating a plan of improvement. If a plan of improvement is not met, the candidate will receive no credit and repeat the experience in the future.

Grading Requirements

The cooperating teacher does not have any grading requirements, but the candidate relies on the expertise of the cooperating teacher to help guide them in completion of all required parts of the clinical experience.

In the Level II and Level III experience, the cooperating teacher should review and approve all lesson plans prior to the candidate delivering the lessons.  All unit/lesson plans must be approved by the university supervisor and cooperating teacher before taught in the classroom.

Level III teacher candidates are also required to complete a daily learning log, which acts as a reflection for the day.  Cooperating teachers should periodically read through the candidates’ logs and sign off that they have been viewed.  This is another opportunity to provide feedback for your students and help them with any issues.