Cooperating Teachers' Experiences Mentoring Preservice Teachers
Recent literature was reviewed to locate articles with perspectives and attitudes of cooperating teachers who work with preservice teachers at school sites in coordination with institutions that have teacher preparation programs in general and/or special education. The results showed an emphasis in reporting the external aspects of being a cooperating teacher such as the daily activities, and little was reported about the internal aspects of being a cooperating teacher such as personal experience and rationale for working a preservice teacher into a classroom. This led to the research question “What do cooperating teachers report as their experiences while mentoring preservice teachers?” that was addressed by conducting a qualitative study with eight cooperating teachers who were recruited from a special education dual license teacher preparation program.
The data from the interviews of their experiences mentoring preservice teachers were analyzed. Three major themes of Knowledge, Learning, and Sharing along with 11 subthemes were identified that described the dynamic and fluid nature of mentoring attributes of cooperating teachers. The stories and thoughts of the participants provided a primary account of a group of professional teachers who mentor preservice teachers. Implications of hearing directly from cooperating teachers through interviews, and the limitations of the study were discussed as were considerations for future study.