Overton, Kim A.; Ph.D.
Program of Education
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
The Impact Student Teachers Have on a Cooperating Teacher’s Teaching Practices
Major Professor: Dr. Ron Stammen
This dissertation explored the perceptions of cooperating teachers regarding their professional impact on working with student teachers. This was accomplished by examining the importance of the intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for hosting a student teacher as well as the deterrents that dissuade working with a student teacher. Further, this dissertation explored reflection, growth, or change that had occurred as a result of working with a student teacher. Finally, it examined factors that influenced the recruitment and retention of cooperating teachers as well as explored mentoring a student teacher as a professional development activity.
This was a quantitative survey study that employed an electronic, web-based data collection procedure. The target population was 262 cooperating teachers who have worked with North Dakota State University student teachers, with 129 (49% response rate) cooperative teachers participating in the study. The data were collected and analyzed to ascertain basic descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and Chi-square tests of independence. The comments from each section of the survey were qualitatively coded, themed, and reported.
The conclusions were that cooperating teachers believed that the intrinsic incentives were more important than the extrinsic incentives. The sentiment of giving back” to the profession was paramount across the literature and findings of this study. The work ethic and preparation of the student teachers, as well as the time commitment and workload, were viewed as potential challenges of working with a student teacher. Generally, the cooperating teachers indicated that mentoring a student teacher was a rewarding experience.
The findings in this study suggested that the cooperating teachers were more reflective about their teaching practices, and they felt more energized and rejuvenated. The cooperating teachers reported that mentoring a student teacher can vary considerably from student teacher to student teacher, citing both very stressful and very rewarding experiences. Overall, cooperating teachers regarded mentoring a student teacher as a source of professional development, and in the spirit of “giving back” to the profession, they indicated they would continue to mentor with little or no compensation.