Cooperating Teachers

A key element in preparing teacher candidates is the time they spend in the classrooms with professional teachers. We call these professional teacher-mentors cooperating teachers.


Cooperating Teacher Requirements

The Florida Department of Education and the University of West Florida require that every cooperating teacher meet the following requirements:

  • Certified in the area in which they teach
  • Received an effective or highly effective in their prior year of service
  • Has a minimum of three years teaching experience
  • Has completed the current Clinical Educator Training
  • Has taught in their current grade/subject level for a minimum of one year

Cooperating Teacher Responsibilites

Cooperating teachers are responsible for providing coaching and mentoring at the appropriate level when they are assigned a clinical teacher candidate. This will include modeling and sharing research based best teaching practices, allowing teacher candidates to take over teaching lessons at appropriate stages and providing actionable, targeted feedback from a growth mindset. The cooperating teacher will also keep the university supervisor informed and meet with them as needed to provide feedback and support for the candidate.


Courses Requiring Cooperating Teacher Support

The following courses include a cooperating teacher component.

  • Introduction to Education: Candidates complete 15 hours of classroom observation. Cooperating teachers make themselves available to answer questions.
  • Field Experience 1: Candidates observe, assist and teach a minimum of two lessons during their 100 hours in the classroom. Cooperating teachers provide coaching and mentoring as well as opportunities for candidates to assist in small groups and whole-class. Cooperating teachers also provide support for the candidate's two lessons.
  • Field Experience 2: Candidates observe, assist and teach a minimum of three lessons during their 75 hours in the classroom. In addition, they will complete 25 hours focused on ESOL with corresponding activities. Cooperating teachers provide coaching and mentoring as opportunities for candidates to assist small groups and whole-class and provide support for candidate's three lessons and ESOL activities.
  • Secondary Practicum: Candidates observe, assist and teach a minimum of three lessons during their 100 hours in the classroom. Cooperating teachers provide coaching and mentoring as well as providing opportunities for candidates to assist small groups and whole-class and provide candidate support to teach three lessons.
  • Student Teaching: Candidates are in the classroom for an entire semester, all day, every day, with teaching responsibilities after a brief time of observation. They are required to be in full control of the class for a minimum of 6 weeks. Cooperating teachers provide coaching and mentoring as well as support so that the candidate can take on full teaching responsibilities.
  • Apprenticeship Teaching: Candidates are in the classroom for an entire semester, for a minimum of fours hours every day, with teaching responsibilities after a brief time of observation. They are required to be in full control a minimum of three class periods for a minimum of 6 weeks. Cooperating teachers provide coaching and mentoring as well as providing support so the candidate can take on the full teaching responsibilities.