Planning for student teaching success

This school year I embarked upon a new journey in my teaching career:  serving as a cooperating teacher to two of my department's three student teachers.  At first I was reluctant to take on student teachers because I wasn't sure if I was cut out for job of helping two pre-service teachers in what will be one of their final preparations before they get their own classrooms.  However, after a colleague and close friend reminded me serving as a cooperating teacher is one of the most valuable forms of professional development, I realized that this was an amazing opportunity for me not only to offer PD to the students assigned to me, but also this would be an opportunity for me to grow as a professional.

Throughout the semester I have or will do the following activities with my student teachers:

I introduced the student teachers to everyone they need to know in the building including principals, secretaries, department chairs, and custodians.

I created a structured student teaching schedule.

I shared lesson plans and assessments with the student teachers.

Every day we reflect upon and discuss the day's activities.  I ask them what they noticed about my lessons, the good and bad, and I offer suggestions to them as well....OK, we really do this more than once a day.

I encouraged both of my student teachers to join Twitter and to follow #edchat and #ntchat.  

I asked my student teachers to each create and maintain a blog for weekly reflection of their student teaching experience.  
Feel free to check up on their progress and offer feedback and encouragement: 

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.  
We are constantly working together to refine what goes on in the classroom.  It is important to me for my student teachers to know that they are not just practicing in my classroom, we are all working together in our classroom to make it a place that is conducive to learning for all members of the learning community, students, student teachers, and classroom teacher. 

What have you done in the past to help student teachers grow during their time in your classroom?  Student teachers: what have your cooperating teachers done that has been really beneficial to you?  Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section. 

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