The Acorn

A Newsletter for CSB/SJU Cooperating Teachers

Volume 4, no. 6--Friday, November 12, 2021

Growing, Nurturing, and Supporting CSB/SJU Student Teachers

The Acorn is a newsletter for the cooperating teachers working with student teachers from the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University. This publication is intended to help our cooperating teachers understand their roles and responsibilities as well as provide them with current research and best practice in working with student teachers. Additional information helpful to mentorship, pedagogy, and current issues in education is often included.

A Message from the Director of Student Teaching

Update on Student Teachers--Classroom Management

This edition’s notes highlight the work we have been doing with student teachers based on the feedback cooperating teachers and university supervisors have provided through formal observations.

As our student teachers gain more competence and confidence in their planning and instruction, they are also building their teacher identities in terms of classroom management. Veteran teachers know that classroom management is an area of continuous improvement. We know the importance of establishing expectations and routines at the beginning of each year and term. We understand that our students may bring attitudes and behaviors to the classroom that have nothing to do with us but impact everything we do. We also know that classroom management is also situational, is ever-changing based on the needs of the current students, and often reflects what we are bringing to the class ourselves. These are things our student teachers are building and growing to understand.

To help our student teachers develop their own management styles and teacher identities, we have encouraged them to ground their work in their values (Curwin, Mendler, and Mendler, 2018) building from our Benedictine traditions. We speak frequently about the importance of relationships with students, getting to know them as individuals and where they’re at, for quality teaching and learning to happen. We build on our traditions of community and stability to create classrooms where the systems allow us to “stumble and search, knowing that we will be caught if we fall” (Chittister, 1990, p. 49), where we can reflect on the choices we have made to make for better ‘next times’. We have also been talking about how we can seek out the good in our students. By touching on the work of the Innocent Classroom (Pate, 2020), we discussed how to center our focus for behavioral change on the deep-seated needs, burdens, and narratives that emerge as undesired behaviors and to see everyone in our classroom for their inherent good, worthiness, and capabilities.

In the next few weeks, I encourage cooperating teachers and university supervisors to engage in conversations with student teachers about the values that undergird their management styles, the relationships they have with students that inform classroom practices, and the ways they see the students who provide them with joys and challenges.


Breaux, A. (2015). 101 Answers for new teachers and their mentors. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Chittister, J. (1990). Wisdom distilled from the daily: Living the Rule of Benedict today. New York: HarperOne.
Curwin, R.L., Mendler, A.N., & Mendler, B.D. (2018). Discipline with dignity: How to build responsibility, relationships, and respect in your classroom. 4th ed. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Pate, A. (2020). The Innocent classroom: Dismantling racial bias to support students of color. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Big picture

Weeks 11 & 12 for Student Teachers

For Candidates in 16-week placements:

Weeks 11 & 12--

  • Continue to teach as in week 10 (ten consecutive days of full-time teaching are to be done in this time)
  • Assist student teacher to address areas needing improvement with continued informal observations and feedback
  • Additional materials for week 12: Conduct one formal evaluation and complete feedback form

For Candidates in 12-week placements:

Weeks 11 & 12--

  • Continue to teach as in week 10 (ten consecutive days of full-time teaching are to be done in this time)
  • Assist student teacher to address areas needing improvement with continued informal observations and feedback
  • Additional materials for week 11:
  • Conduct one formal evaluation
  • Discuss transitioning back to your classroom
  • Schedule a final meeting with the university supervisor
  • Prepare letter of recommendation for the final meeting
  • Additional materials for week 12:
  • Have the student teacher teach half time and observe (either you or colleagues)
  • half time
  • Complete the final evaluation and dispositions forms (see below)
  • Participate in the final meeting

For Candidates in 8-week placements:

Week 3 of new placement--

  • Work with the student teacher in planning, preparation of lessons and materials, monitoring student work.
  • Review the student teacher’s lesson plans
  • Co-teach in subjects/classes the student teacher isn’t leading
  • Conduct one formal observation
  • Elementary: Allow the student teacher to solo teach 30-40 minutes per day, adding more time as the student teacher is ready.
  • Secondary: Allow the student teacher to teach at least one section of a course, building to two sections by the end of the week

Week 4 of new placement--

  • Model teaching, learning, and assessment for the student teacher
  • Conduct informal observations and provide actionable feedback
  • Co-teach in classes/subjects the student teacher is not leading
  • Review the student teacher’s goals and performance, setting new goals for the remainder of the placement
  • Elementary: Allow the student teacher to teach building to half of the day
  • Secondary: Allow the student teacher to teach up to two classes less than a full-time load, if the student teacher is prepared to do so

Quick Links

CSB/SJU Student Teaching Handbook

Student Teaching Observations (by Cooperating Teacher/University Supervisor/Director)

This observation/evaluation form should be used to complete observations throughout the placement. Six formal observations of the student teacher are required within the span of student teaching. We ask that you complete 6 for a 16-week placement, 5 in a 12-week placement, 3 in an 8-week placement, and 2 in a 5-week placement. The entire form does not need to be completed for each observation; however, by the end of the placement, each part should be addressed.

Additional Forms:

Cooperating Teacher Information (if not completed in the past three years)

Feedback (weeks 2, 6/7, 10, & 12)
Cooperating Teacher's Final Evaluation of Student Teacher

Cooperating Teacher's Dispositional Evaluation of Student Teacher

CSB/SJU Education Department

Jennifer L. Meagher, EdD.

Director of Elementary and Secondary Student Teaching

Allison Spenader, PhD.