Degrees & Programs
Graduate Community of Teachers
Working alongside a master is a time-honored way to learn.
The modeling that occurs in apprenticeships is a powerful intervention. The concept breaks down when an apprentice is arbitrarily assigned to a not-so-masterful mentor. CoT mitigates this problem by empowering teacher candidates to select their own mentors. One of your first tasks as a candidate is to visit schools, and identify a Mentor Teacher (if you will be student teaching) or a Mentor Colleague (if you already teach full-time) in your subject area whom you respect enough to become an apprentice throughout your teacher candidate preparation process. CoT encourages candidates to consider a variety of middle and high school settings before finalizing this decision.
Some candidates are already full-time teachers and have extensive experience in schools. Those experiences can satisfy appropriate parts of this need to experience a variety of settings. Finding a Mentor Colleague who teaches the same subject is ideal, but it is essential that the individual value the opportunity for dialogue. Fellow CoTers are valuable resources in identifying mentors and colleagues, particularly when they describe rather than evaluate teachers whom they have visited. As a beginning CoTer, your goal should be to actively seek, if not to find, a Mentor Teacher or a Mentor Colleague by the end of your first semester in the program. This task must be accomplished by the end of your second semester.
CoT helps establish field assignments in which teacher candidates, through continuous service, can become valued additions to their schools rather than transients who may understandably be viewed as temporary impositions on overburdened teachers. Candidates essentially agree to serve as volunteer, part-time assistants whose responsibilities and latitude for action increases as their Mentor Teachers trust in their abilities and as their good judgment grows. Candidates also do their student teaching with their Mentor Teachers. Maintaining strong, productive relationships with Mentor Teachers is an ongoing responsibility of all CoTers.
Mentor Teachers, in turn, freely choose whether they will work with our candidates. Such mutual respect engenders commitment. CoT's mentor Teachers are critical elements of the communities we seek to build; they are always welcome members of their Apprentice's Seminars.
Throughout your preparation, you will spend approximately one day each week in your Mentor Teacher's school. Candidates have found that spending two half days in their schools is noticeably superior to one whole day if appropriate arrangements can be made. They have more contact, and therefore, more of a sense of continuity with their classes. Because they work with fewer classes, they have fewer names to learn and can build relationships with students. Asking your Mentor Teacher or Mentor Colleague to recommend a schedule is a good place to begin.